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Country Star, Proud Spell Lead Oaks Futures

| Churchill Downs Communications | 03/21/2008 #

Louisville, KY (March 9, 2008) -- A surprise loss in the Fair Grounds Oaks (Grade II) by reigning 2-year-old filly champion and previously unbeaten Indian Blessing threw Pool 2 of Churchill Downs’ 2008 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager wide open, and the resulting scramble saw Country Star and Proud Spell rise to the top when betting on contenders for the 134th Kentucky Oaks (GI) in the four-day pool concluded on Sunday.

Stonerside Stable’s Country Star was the 5-1 favorite at the conclusion of Pool 2, although trainer Bobby Frankel’s winner of the Darley Alcibiades (GI) and Hollywood Starlet (GI) has yet to race in 2008. The daughter of Empire Maker edged Brereton C. Jones’ Proud Spell, who became the 6-1 second choice when she avenged a pair of earlier losses to Indian Blessing with an upset victory for trainer J. Larry Jones over the champion in Saturday’s Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).

There was little to separate the top pair from several of the 23 wagering interests in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager. IEAH Stable and Lewis Lakin’s unbeaten Pure Clan was the close third choice a 7-1. She was followed closely at 8-1 by Eight Belles, a 13 ½-length winner of a division of Oaklawn Park’s Martha Washington, and the Bob Baffert-trained Indian Blessing. The mutuel field, which included all 3-year-old fillies other than the 22 individual betting interests remaining in the pool, closed at 9-1. The roster of betting interests in Pool 2 of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager was reduced to 23 when wagering was suspended on Tizaqueena (#22) on Friday.

A total of $62,503 was wagered during the four-day pool, the largest total for Pool 2 in the five years since the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager went to its three-pool format. The year’s third and final Kentucky Oaks Future Wager Pool is set for April 3-6. The Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is a minimum $2 wager and a win bet only. It offers fans the opportunity to bet on contenders for the Kentucky Oaks at odds that could be greater than those they would receive on the day of the race. There are no refunds in the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager.

The $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) is set for May 2 at Churchill Downs.

Other fillies that attracted substantial support Pool 2 included Davona Dale (GII) winner Bsharpsonata (12-1), a winner of four consecutive stakes races, and Absolutely Cindy (16-1), who upset males in last week’s John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park.

Information on the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager is available on the official event Web site at www.kentuckyoaks.com.