Brereton Jones’ Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Lovely Maria did not stick around Churchill Downs long to rest on her lilies as she and Grayson Farm’s I’m a Chatterbox, the Oaks’ third-place finisher vanned to Keeneland shortly after the Oaks that was viewed by a record crowd of 123,763.
“We started loading up the van about 9 o’clock and left about 9:30,” three-time Kentucky Oaks-winning trainer Larry Jones said. “They made the trip over no problem. They ate all their feed and they acted like they’d done something to get hungry. Everything’s apparently fine this morning. It’s nice and quiet at Keeneland – nobody’s milling around. They’re getting their rest and all’s well.”
While the fillies rested in their Keeneland stalls, the trainer and his wife/lead assistant, Cindy Jones, enjoyed a rare morning off on Kentucky Derby Day in Louisville.
“I slept in, I’ve gone and picked up a little breakfast for us, and we’re sitting here drinking coffee after the sun has come up,” Jones said. “It’s not a regular day for me; we’re celebrating.”
Jones and his team pointed Lovely Maria and I’m a Chatterbox to the Kentucky Oaks all spring and had them perfectly tuned for top efforts. As everything has been about accomplishing this primary goal, there has yet to be any discussion about possible next races.
“I really do not have a clue,” Jones said. “We’re headed to Delaware with everything. We’ll make up our minds – there, New York is close, there are a lot of spots to run from there – but we don’t have anything in mind because we were targeting this.”
OTHER KENTUCKY OAKS NOTES
SHOOK UP – Regis Racing's Shook Up, the Oaks runner-up, came out of the race well, said trainer Steve Asmussen, who has yet to form a plan for how he will proceed with her.
"We targeted this,'' Asmussen said. "I think that we need to give it the respect that it deserves, try to keep an open mind when she goes back to training. t obviously puts her in the upper echelon of 3-year-old fillies. And we will try to take advantage of that, because there are some very good races left this year. The Black-Eyed Susan (GII on May 15) is too quick back for her off of such a big race.''
Shook Up raced within a few lengths of the lead much of the way and had a strong late run, but she couldn't stick with winner Lovely Maria in the stretch.
"She ran well,'' Asmussen said. "Obviously, we felt she was set up for a big race, and she gave us one.''
STELLAR WIND – Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind, fourth in the Kentucky Oaks as the betting favorite, came back fine from her less-than ideal trip. Breaking from the 12 hole, Victor Espinoza had to steady early and fanned nine-wide into the stretch. Trainer John Sadler reported via text message that the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner was OK this morning and would fly back to her Southern California base on Tuesday.
BIRDATTHEWIRE – Forum Racing's Birdathewire, who finished fifth in the Oaks, 5 1/4 lengths behind winner Lovely Maria, came out of the race in good order, said Baldemar Bahena, assistant to trainer Dale Romans. "She came back good, ate everything last night,'' Bahena said.
ANGELA RENEE/ESKENFORMONEY – Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Saturday morning that his two Kentucky Oaks fillies – Siena Farm’s Angela Renee (who finished sixth) and StarLadies Racing’s Eskenformoney (who ran 10th) – came out of their nine-furlong tussle Friday afternoon in good order.
“They both came out of it well,” the conditioner said. “They’re fine this morning. They’ll ship up to New Yorkon Monday.”
Pletcher noted there were several future options for the two sophomore fillies, but he said he’d give special consideration to Belmont Park’s $750,000 Acorn Stakes, a Grade I feature that will be part of the NYRA’s big Belmont Stakes card on June. 6.
OCEANWAVE – Gary and Mary West’s Oceanwave was reported to have exited Friday’s Kentucky Oaks in good order. Oceanwave dropped back to last after the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile classic for 3-year-old fillies before rallying with a nine-wide move to finish seventh.
INCLUDE BETTY – Lisa Sloan, assistant to trainer Tom Proctor, reported that Brereton Jones and Timothy Thornton’s Include Betty came out of her eighth-place finish in the Oaks in good order.
“She didn’t really get a chance to run and wasn’t even tired after the race,” Sloan said.
Sloan said that Include Betty would be headed Sunday to Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Md., where Proctor was headed Saturday morning.
CONDO COMMANDO – Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Saturday morning that Condo Commando was fine following her ninth-place finish as the 4-1 second choice in the Kentucky Oaks. The filly owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group tired after setting the early pace.
"We just got to regroup. Throw that race out," Rodriguez said. "Maybe she doesn't like that kind of track. Who knows? She was on the lead where she was supposed to be, but she didn't fire. We'll regroup and figure out what we've got to do. She's run three races back to back to back. We've got Saratoga. We'll just take it easy."
FOREVER UNBRIDLED – Charles Fipke's Forever Unbridled, who finished 11th in the Oaks, will get a break from training, trainer Dallas Stewart said. "She seemed fine,'' Stewart said. "She's walking around. I'm thinking of giving her 30 days off. I might send her to WinStar, freshen her up a little bit. Let her get her feet back on the ground until Saratoga. She ran hard all year. You just can't keep going. Chuck's good about that.''
PUCA – Trainer Bill Mott reported that Donegal Racing’s Puca came out of her 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks in good health. “No issues, no excuses,” said Mott, who has no definite schedule for Puca’s next start. Puca broke from the No. 14 post and was hung wide throughout the race.
MONEY’SONCHARLOTTE – Trainer Kelly Breen said that George and Lori Hall’s Money’soncharlotte would return to her home base at Monmouth Park on Sunday.
“She’s fine this morning. We’ll go back to Monmouth and regroup,” Breen said of the filly who finished 13th Friday.
Breen had one other bit of business to do at Churchill Downs for the Halls on Saturday and was to saddle Pants On Fire in the Grade II Churchill Downs.
SARAH SIS – Jesus Esquivel, exercise rider for Sarah Sis and assistant to trainer Ingrid Mason, said that the filly who was pulled up in the Oaks was fine Saturday morning.
Owned by Joe Ragsdale, Sarah Sis walked the shedrow early Saturday morning and was scheduled to ship to Arlington in Chicago on Sunday.