Road to Victory was latched on tightly to odds-on favorite Monomoy Girl most of the way in Saturday's $200,000 Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs, and the pair of juvenile fillies ultimately turned the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep into a two-horse race.
Appearing to rebuff a challenge from Road to Victory in upper stretch, Monomoy Girl looked like she would maintain her undefeated record passing the eighth pole, but Road to Victory was not yet finished and wore down the favorite late to capture the Golden Rod by a neck under Julien Leparoux, who registered his fourth victory in the Churchill's premier two-year-old filly race.
Sent off at 7-1, Road to Victory paid $16.40 after completing the course in 1:43.36 over a fast track. Owned by John Oxley and Gary Barber, the daughter of Quality Road earned 10 points toward Oaks eligibility as part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series.
Monomoy Girl, three-for-three entering the Golden Rod and winner of the $82,000 Rags to Riches on October 29, was 5 3/4 lengths clear of third-place finisher Cash Out, with Dessert Honeys two lengths back in fourth. The trio earned Oaks qualifying points of 4-2-1, respectively.
A 3 1/2-length debut winner on the turf at Woodbine October 1, Road to Victory was shipped to Kentucky in order to see how well she'd handle racing on the dirt.
"She never had a bad day since she's been down here," said Norman Casse, assistant to his father trainer Mark. "We were very confident today."
A $500,000 purchase at OBS in April, Road to Victory is out of Favoritism, by Tiznow. She's now earned $144,650.