Brereton Jones’ homebred Believe You Can wore down pace-setting Broadway’s Alibi inside the eighth pole and drew off to win the 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks by three-quarters of a length before a crowd of 112,552 on Friday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
The attendance was the second largest in Oaks history, surpassed by only the 116,046 on hand for the 2010 running.
The Kentucky Oaks victory was the second for Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones, who teamed to win the 2008 Run for the Lilies with Proud Spell.
Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, who became the first female rider to win the Kentucky Oaks, Believe You Can ran the 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.50.
Broadway’s Alibi, ridden by John Velazquez, led the field of 14 through fractions of :23.12, :47.47 and 1:11.58 with Believe You Can in closest pursuit. Turning for home, Napravnik moved on Believe You Can, hooking the leader and racing as a team to midstretch before Believe You Can slowly edged away.
Winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, Believe You Can added $564,200 to her bankroll and increased her career earnings to $1,059,484 with a record of 9-6-0-0.
Believe You Can, a dark bay daughter of Proud Citizen out the El Prado-IRE mare El Fasto, paid $29.60, $11.80 and $6.40 to her backers. Broadway’s Alibi returned $6 and $4.20 with favored Grace Hall finishing third 2 ½ length back under Javier Castellano and returning $3.20 to show.
Summer Applause finished three-quarters of a length back in fourth and was followed in order by On Fire Baby, Hard Not to Like, Sacristy, Amie’s Dini, And Why Not, Jemima’s Pearl, Colonial Empress, Karlovy Vary, Yara and Eden’s Moon.
Saturday is Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs with the 138th Run for the Roses scheduled for a 6:24 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. First post time for the 13-race program is 10:30 a.m. with five graded stakes slated to be run prior to the Kentucky Derby.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.