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.
Ridden by Gabriel Saez, Proud Spell tracked the pace set by Bsharpsonata, who led the field through fractions of :23.73, :48.86 and 1:12.95 under Eric Camacho. Saez made his move at the head of lane, grabbing the lead from Bsharpsonata at the three-sixteenths pole and kicking away from her pursuers for a dominating victory, completing the mile and one-eighth over a “sloppy” track in 1:50.01.
Trained by Larry Jones, Proud Spell increased her record to 8-5-2-1 and with the winner’s share of $342,592 boosted her earnings to $1,281,362.
Bred by Brereton Jones, Proud Spell is a daughter of 2002 Kentucky Derby runner-up Proud Citizen out of the Langfuhr mare Pacific Spell.
Proud Spell had run on a sloppy track once before, finishing second in last fall’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Monmouth Park.
The victory, the first in the race for Saez and Larry Jones, gave the jockey and trainer a shot at a rare Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby double.
Saez will ride Fox Hill Farms’ Eight Belles in the Kentucky Derby for Larry Jones. Eight Belles scratched out of the Oaks to run in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
The most recent rider to win both races the same year was Jerry Bailey in 1993 aboard Dispute in the Oaks and Sea Hero in the Derby.
Trainer Ben Jones saddled Real Delight to win the 1952 Oaks and came back the next afternoon to win the Derby with Hill Gail.
Elusive Lady was a mid-afternoon scratch from the Oaks because of track condition by trainer John Kimmel.
Going off as the favorite, Proud Spell returned mutuels of $8.80, $4.80 and $3.20.
Darley Stable’s Little Belle, ridden by Rajiv Maragh, took advantage of a ground-saving trip to run second and return $6.40 and $4. IEAH Stable, Lewis Lakin and Pegasus Holding Group Stables’ Pure Clan rallied for third under Julien Leparoux to finish three-quarters of a length back in third and return $3.80.
Completing the field in order were Golden Doc A, Bsharpsonata, Country Star, A to the Croft, Rasierra, Awesome Chic and Absolutely Cindy.
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 conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.