LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It does not pay to ignore trainer Larry Jones when it comes to the Run for the Lilies.
The rugged cowboy captured his third Kentucky Oaks training victory when Lovely Maria overtook Angela Renee at the eighth pole and rolled home to a 2 3/4 length victory, covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1.50.45.
Jockey Kerwin “Boo Boo” Clark captured his second career Grade 1 victory aboard the daughter of Majesticperfection, who is out of a Thunder Gulch mare before a record-breaking crowd of 123,763 at Churchill Downs. Former Kentucky Governor Brereton C. Jones won his third Oaks title, his previous wins coming from Believe You Can (2012) and Proud Spell (2008), both fillies trained by Jones.
Lovely Maria, who returned $14.60 for the win, ran down the same filly that she did in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland last month in Angela Renee, who faded to sixth. Lovely Maria paid $7.80 to place and $5.40 to show.
Jones had been pleased with how his filly had trained up to the race. “She worked so well here. I knew she didn't have to carry her track with her,” said Jones.
Standing at the rail throughout the race, trainer Steve Asmussen was savoring his inside post position for his filly, Shook Up, who closed late for second. The rail had been golden for most of the day and he told The News prior to the race he just wanted to “ride the wave” in the Oaks. Asmussen, who trained Oaks winner s in Rachel Alexandra (2009) and last year with Untapable, was getting emotional before the start of this year’s race as they showed a replay of Untapable’s win on Churchill’s mammoth video board.
After the race he couldn’t have been feeling better about his 26-1 filly who just came up short. “I am very proud of her, she ran a good race. Hats off to the winner, but I’m very proud of our filly. Robby (Albarado) gave her a great trip,” said Asmussen. Shook Up paid $20.20 to place and $11.40 to show for Regis Racing.
Albarado gave kudos to the winner but also lauded the daughter of Tapit out of an Awesome Again mare. “I had a great trip, she broke really nice. She was in my hands the whole way. Very nice fillies in this field it was very competitive. She ran big. She liked it today, she has done a great job of schooling though,” said Albarado.
After breaking slowly, the third choice in the betting, I’m a Chatterbox, another Jones filly, made up ground late and finished willingly for the show. Jockey Florent Geroux admitted his filly did not have the best start after the race. “She broke a step slow and she was not on the bridle. She was a little bit off the bridle, and I’m thinking maybe it’s the track because she has been winning everywhere else,” said Geroux.
I’m a Chatterbox, who won all three of her prep races in Louisiana at the Fair Grounds paid $5 for the show. Jones was pleased with his other filly’s effort. “Chatterbox came closing. She got squeezed back a little bit early, but she came closing. She was third in the Kentucky Oaks, we can live with that,'' said Jones.
The $2 exacta returned $296 and the $2 trifecta returned $1,562.80.
The morning line and post time favorite Stellar Wind finished fourth, completing a $0.10 superfecta that paid $412.66. Jockey Victor Espinoza’s filly also had issues at the break. “She broke just a bit slow and that was a problem. I tried to stay up with the horse next to me, but we were getting outrun. Then when we went into the first turn and the dirt was flying back, she started jumping up and down. This wasn’t her day.”
With the Oaks complete, the $1 Oaks-Derby double will-pays can be found below:
|Saddle Number||Horse||$1 Will Pays|
|1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||$894|
Check tomorrow's print edition for my advance on the big one, the Kentucky Derby.
Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.