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Tom Walters’ Elite Squadron took the lead out of the gate and never looked back in posting a front-running 4 1/2-length victory in the 74th running of the $282,000 Churchill Downs (Grade II), the first of six graded stakes on the Kentucky Derby 134 card at Churchill Downs on Saturday afternoon.
Near constant rain couldn’t dampen the spirits of fans at Churchill Downs as Proud Spell, the 3-1 favorite, worked her magic in Kentucky Oaks 134, dominating a field of 10 fillies as a crowd of 100,046 looked on, the ninth largest on-track gathering in Kentucky Oaks history. The dreary weather, which forced fans from their seats during repeated downpours, did take its toll on wagering.
Brereton C Jones’ Proud Spell demolished a field of 10 classy three-year-old fillies by powering to a five-length victory in the 134th running of the $581,650 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs on a rainy Friday afternoon before a crowd of 100,046.
Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu made his turf debut a winning one by holding off favored Sailor’s Cap by a neck in the 17th running of the $174,450 Crown Royal American Turf (Grade III) for three-year-olds on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Tizdejavu covered the distance over a “yielding” turf course in 1:46.14 under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Stronach Stable’s Giant Gizmo roared from off the pace to run down dueling leaders Better Than Bonds and Wanderin Boy in the stretch en route to a 3 3/4-length victory in the fifth running of the $166,050 Alysheba Stakes (Grade III) for 3-year-olds and up on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Zayat Stables’ Zee Zee took the lead soon after the break and maintained a clear advantage all the way around to post a 1 3/4-length victory over My Baby Baby in the 24th running of the $168,600 Edgewood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Stronach Stable’s Eclipse Award-winning mare Ginger Punch showed her championship class Friday at Churchill Downs by posting a 3 3/4-length victory over Leah’s Secret in the 23rd running of the $340,200 Louisville Stakes (Grade II).
Carl Moore Management and Martin Racing Stable’s Mr. Nightlinger posted a front-running one-length victory Friday afternoon in the 14th running of the $126,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (BRZ) will be hoping the third time’s the charm Saturday when he takes on seven rivals in the 22nd running of the $400,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), one of five graded stakes preceding the 134th running of the $2 million-guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) at Churchill Downs.