Street Story rated from the outside, grabbed the lead from 3-2 favorite Spring Included at the top of the stretch and turned back a late charge by Heykittykittykitty to win Monday’s 12th running of the $100,000 Winning Colors (Grade III) by 1 ½ lengths on Memorial Day at Churchill Downs.
Street Story, a 4-year-old filly owned by Carrol Castille’s Whispering Oaks Farm, sprinted six furlongs over a sloppy main track in 1:10.39 en route to defeating nine other fillies and mares. Florent Geroux rode the winner for trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the inaugural running in 2004 with Grade I-winner Lady Tak.
“She always tries hard and today she ran very well,” Asmussen’s assistant Darren Fleming said.
Defending champ Southern Honey, the 5-2 second choice who made her first start in the mud, broke alertly and led the field through the first quarter mile in :21.90 while racing from the inside. She began to retreat, and Spring Included asserted herself around the turn after a half in :45.38, with Street Story in close pursuit from the outside.
As they straightened out at the head of the stretch, Street Story poked her head in front and gamely edged clear down the stretch. Heykittykittykitty closed well down the stretch but was unable to bridge the gap.
The victory was worth $58,900 and improved Street Story’s earnings to $339,430 with a record of 13-5-2-1.
This was her second graded stakes win and fourth stakes win overall. Last June, Street Story prevailed in the $150,000 Victory Ride (GIII) at Belmont Park after taking the $100,000 Dixie Belle and $100,000 Instant Racing at Oaklawn Park in early 2014.
Street Story returned $17.60, $7.60 and $4.60 as the 7-1 fourth betting choice. Heykittykittykitty, ridden by Didiel Osorio, paid $7 and $4.60. Spring Included, under Joe Rocco Jr., was another 1 ¾ lengths behind the runner-up and returned $2.60.
Milam, Enchanting Lisa, You Bought Her, Pistolpackinpenny, Toni’s Hollyday, Southern Honey and Boss Barney’s Babe completed the order of finish.
Street Story is a dark bay or brown 4-year-old daughter of Street Cry-IRE out of the Tale of the Cat mare Perfect Story. She was bred in Kentucky by John C. Oxley.
The Winning Colors is named in honor of Eugene Klein’s Winning Colors, the most recent filly to have won the Kentucky Derby when she beat the boys in the 114th running of the Run for the Roses in 1988 for the Hall of Fame tandem of trainer D. Wayne Lukas and jockey Gary Stevens.
After dark days on Tuesday and Wednesday, racing at Churchill Downs resumes Thursday with an eight-race twilight program that begins at 5 p.m.
WINNING COLORS QUOTES
FLORENT GEROUX, jockey of STREET STORY (winner): “We had a great trip on the outside. When I rode her at Fair Grounds she was stuck on the inside and she almost jumped the fence. She was really claustrophobic on the inside. I was pretty much sure I could win this stakes. I had to keep her on the clear as much as possible and it went great. I had a good enough post to do so and I took advantage of it. I had the 8-5 favorite next to me when I squeezed mine just before the quarter pole. I pretty much knew I had it.”
DARREN FLEMING, asst. trainer of STREET STORY (winner): “She’s been training very well here at Churchill; she had some good works. She was annihilated [in the Carousel], she had no shot. The start cost her that race. When you bring her over here she tries hard every time. I didn’t think [the off track] hurt her; she had run on it before. She won on it at Oaklawn once before.”
RON MOQUETT, trainer of HEYKITTYKITTYKITTY (runner-up): “She ran really well. I was proud of her. That was a really good group of horses and I think could probably rack ‘em up again and come out with a different result. I was very happy for the owners (Westrock Stables LLC). She ran well for them and now she’s graded stakes-placed.”
DIDIEL OSORIO, jockey on HEYKITTYKITTYKITTY (runner-up): “She ran really good. She ran hard but just couldn’t catch the winner. I thought I had a shot at the head of the stretch, but she finished well against good horses.”
STEVE HOBBY, trainer of SPRING INCLUDED (third): “She uncharacteristically kind of shut it down there at the end. That’s not like her. She tried. She still was game. But she usually digs a little harder there at the end. I was a little disappointed in her last hundred yards.”
Q: Was the wet track a concern for you? “Not really. She’s won in the slop before. In fact, she’s won at Churchill in the slop before.”
JOE ROCCO JR., jockey on SPRING INCLUDED (third): “She ran really big. She ran three really big races at Oaklawn in a row. It was no disgrace. What did she get beat – three lengths in a Grade III? It’s a long summer. I’m still proud of her.”
GEORGE “RUSTY” ARNOLD, trainer of SOUTHERN HONEY (ninth as 5-2 second choice): “It’s a long time off. The race didn’t go exactly like I thought it would. I don’t know about the surface, I’m not using it as an excuse I just don’t know. She’s out of a Carson City mare so she should like it, but doesn’t mean they’ll like it. It was probably a little fast but you know how this track gets, they’ll do that. I think they did that in an earlier race that might not have been a top race. I’m disappointed right now, but if she comes back good and my objectives are a little bit further a long, so it’s not the end of the world.”