LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sunday, May 14, 2023) – Trainer Phil Bauer and owner Richard Rigney will not easily forget this year’s Kentucky Derby Weekend after their 5-year-old mare Played Hard prevailed over 2022 Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) heroine Secret Oath in the $750,000 La Troienne presented by TwinSpires (GI). Now, Bauer has his eye on Played Hard’s next goal, the $400,000 Fleur de Lis (GII) on Saturday, July 1 at Churchill Downs.
“She came out of the race in great shape especially with it being her first start of the year,” Bauer said. “She loves the track at Churchill and we have big goals for her this year. We accomplished one of those last week.”
Rigney, a local entrepreneur, had a massive celebration in the Woodford Reserve Winner’s Circle following the La Troienne where several friends and family members joined him.
“We brought 60 people with us this year to the Oaks and Derby and all of them are super amazing people,” Rigney said. “We had people there from my kids, to ski instructors, to drivers from Los Angeles. We wanted them all to come together because I care about them so much. (Played Hard) ran so great. We are so thrilled. I’m glad my daughters Claire and Madison were here with me. It was a truly special day.”
The La Troienne was Bauer’s first Grade I victory as a trainer. The former assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek was overcome with emotion after the race.
“I’ve dreamt of days like this,” Bauer said after the La Troienne. “I’m completely speechless and so thankful for Richard and (wife) Tammy for all of their support.”
Life was starting to get back to normal for Bauer on Sunday at Churchill Downs where his barn had a light day of training. Bauer made a brief appearance at the barn before he had to return home for Mother’s Day to celebrate with his wife, Ashley, and their three kids Wyatt, Lincoln and Caroline.
The La Troienne is one of six stakes on the July 1 program that will be headlined by the $1 million Stephen Foster (GI). The other supporting stakes are the $400,000 Wise Dan (GII), $225,000 American Derby (Listed), $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed) and $225,000 Tepin.
GRADE II WINNER THERAPIST LIKELY HEADLINER OF $225,000 LOUISVILLE STAKES – Michael Dubb’s former $50,000 claim Therapist is the likely headliner for Saturday’s featured $225,000 Louisville Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Entries for the 1 ½-mile turf marathon will be drawn Wednesday. Here are the likely entrants, according to Churchill Downs Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork: Another Mystery (trainer Mickey Goldfine); Bay Street (Mike Maker); English Conqueror (Darwin Banach); Therapist (Maker) and Yamato (Maker).
Saturday’s card will have a first post of 12:45 p.m. ET.