Silverton Hill’s Oculuna outgamed Northern Belle through a stretch-long duel to win Thursday’s $51,785 featured allowance at Churchill Downs by a nose.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Oculuna ranged alongside Northern Belle at the top of the stretch after Northern Belle had put away the pace-setting Gibsonsfasttrick. The two raced as team to wire with Oculuna winning the head-bob and completing the five furlongs on a “sloppy” track in :57.88.
Trained by Darrin Miller, Oculuna paid $22.60, $6.20 and $4 in the off-the-turf sprint. Northern Belle, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., paid $3.20 and $2.40 with Simplify, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, finishing three-quarters of a length back and returning $3 to show in the field of seven.
The victory, the fourth in eight starts for the home-bred daughter of Century City-IRE out of the Mr. Greeley mare Ali Online, was worth $32,105 and increased Oculuna’s earnings to $67,204.
Live racing at Churchill Downs resumes Friday with a 10-race program that is schedule to begin at 2:45 p.m. ET.