LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, May 29, 2010) - Starlight Partners' Ailalea assumed command at the head of the stretch and then held off a late bid from Tap Tap Tapping by a length to win the 36th running of the $110,200 Dogwood (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Helen Belen and Visavis dueled for the lead through early fractions of :22.56 and :45.27 while Ailalea, under Calvin Borel, was content to track in third place outside of the leaders. Leaving the far turn, Visavis briefly stuck her head in front only to be quickly overtaken by Ailalea.
Ailalea opened a daylight advantage in the stretch and had more than enough left to hold off Tap Tap Tapping and complete the mile on a fast main track in 1:35.89.
Fifth in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) in her most recent start, Ailalea improved her record to 8-3-0-1 and increased her earnings to $186,525 with Saturday's $66,274 winner's check.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ailalea is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit out of the Woodman mare Wood Sprite.
Ailalea returned $4, $3 and $2.40. Tap Tap Tapping, the longest price in the field of eight at 31-1, returned $18.20 and $8 under Freddie Lenclud. Fuzzy Britches, ridden by Corey Lanerie, finished another three lengths back and returned $4 to show. Completing the field in order were Vertical Vision, Visavis, Helen Belen, Age of Humor and Bell's Shoes.
Racing resumes over the Memorial Day holiday weekend on Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. (EDT). There's a five-day Pick 6 carryover of $54,076 on races 5-10.
CALVIN BOREL (jockey, AILALEA, winner): "I had a good trip. She didn't leave [the starting gate] that good but she brought me there easy. I then just took my time. I thought she was much the best. I was very confident. When I asked her she just went on about her business. [Trainer] Todd [Pletcher] was telling me that she gets a little nervous before the races, and that was the main key I think: I had to keep her settled. She was fine when she went to the gate."
MICHAEL MCCARTHY (assistant trainer, TODD PLETCHER, AILALEA, winner): "The filly was training well up to this race. We were excited to lead her over today. She was thriving in the morning the last couple of weeks, and Calvin [Borel] gave her a fantastic ride."
FREDDIE LENCLUD (jockey, TAP TAP TAPPING, second): "We just got back to the way we used to ride her. We let her settle at the back and she made a big run at the end. That filly (Tap Tap Tapping) is still immature. She'll get better and better. She'll win a stake."
DAVID VANCE (trainer, TAP TAP TAPPING, second): "Her last start, she quit at the three-eighths pole and just galloped home. This race we wanted to back off her a bit and see where we were with her. She's a good filly and we know that. We talked to [jockey] Freddie [Lenclud] about this race and told him to have her sit at the back of the pack. She made a nice move coming down the lane. We will see how she comes out of this race. She is still learning and 1 1/8 miles isn't out of reach for her."
COREY LANERIE (jockey, FUZZY BRITCHES, third): "I had a good trip I was able to get in and save some ground around the turn. Then we got to the quarter pole and we weren't good enough to catch them. I thought I had them for a minute there."
NOTES: Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Calvin Borel both won their fourth stakes races of the meet and second together. They teamed to win the 136th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands with Super Saver. . . Pletcher's other 2010 Churchill Downs Spring Meet stakes wins: American Turf (Doubles Partner) and Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Phola). . . Borel's other 2010 Churchill Downs Spring Meet stakes winners: The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (Hurricane Ike) and Churchill Downs (Atta Boy Roy). . . For Borel, it was the 51st Churchill Downs stakes win of his career. Pletcher collected his 29th local stakes victory. . . Borel also won the 2007 Dogwood aboard Lady Joanne. . . Co-owner Jack Wolf hinted that Ailalea might be considered for the Grade I Mother Goose at Belmont Park on June 26.
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 Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will host the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2011 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6, 2011. The track's 2010 Spring Meet continues through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders' Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at Tickets.ChurchillDowns.com or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at ChurchillDowns.com.
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