In addition to sweeping the this year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the Kentucky Derby (G1), horses bred in the Bluegrass also made their presence felt on the undercard of both marquee racing days at Churchill Downs.
On Derby Day, Jackie’s Warrior was among the stars of the afternoon. J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s champion romped to an impressive four-length score in the 87th running of the $750,000 Churchill Downs S. (G1). Piloted by Joel Rosario for trainer Steve Asmussen, Jackie’s Warrior led gate to wire and stopped the timer for seven furlongs in 1:21.95 while being geared down late.
Jackie’s Warrior was clear of rivals throughout, recording splits of :22.76 and :45.50. He drifted out into the four-path on the far turn but widened his advantage through the stretch with Rosario wrapping up on the Eclipse Champion inside the sixteenth pole. Now a four-time Grade 1 winner, Jackie’s Warrior is a Kentucky-bred son of Maclean’s Music out of the A.P. Five Hundred mare Unicorn Girl. The colt was bred by J & J Stables.
“First, I can’t say enough about the Robisons putting a champion stallion back in training and letting us enjoy him another year. He’s now a Grade 1 winner at two, three, and four. And the style in which he won today was just beautiful. When you’re the speed of the race, you just stay on the path you want. He’s older, more confident, and stronger.”
Juddmonte Farms homebred Obligatory closed with a furious rush from last to take down top prize over six rivals in the 36th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff S. (G1). Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Obligatory completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.17 after closing from last and launching her winning bid five-wide on the far turn.
A perfect 3-for-3 at Churchill Downs, Obligatory is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin out of the Macho Uno mare Uno Duo. The win was her first in a Grade 1, and her earnings now stand at $1,228,594 and her record is 11-5-2-0.
“She’s a very nice mare,” said Ortiz. “I feel like she’s getting better and better. I just waited and let her get into her own rhythm. They were going very fast on the front end. I didn’t want to sweep her off her feet to get a good finish. I was very happy with the trip I had. I swing a little wide because I felt like I had enough (horse).”
Godolphin homebred Santin bravely fended off Mira Mission to win the $1,000,000 Turf Classic S. (G1) for trainer Brendan Walsh. Ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Santin held Mira Mission safe by just a neck following a protracted stretch duel in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair. Santin stopped the clock in 1:49.72.
Santin is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Distorted Humor out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Sentiero Italia. The $595,200 winner’s share of the purse increased his bankroll to $813,200.
“We’ve thought this was a special horse and I think we’re starting to see the start of something big here,” said Brendan Walsh. “He’s still just a baby; he’s only had six starts now.”
On Friday, May 6, Stonestreet Stables homebred Pauline’s Pearl wore down race favorite and defending champion Shedaresthedevil to score a half-length victory in the $750,000 La Troienne S. (G1). Ridden by Joel Rosario, Pauline’s Pearl completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.46 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit out of the Dixie Union mare Hot Dixie Chick, Pauline’s Pearl increased her bankroll to $1,494,200 and her record now stands at 13-5-4-2.
“So many things go into it,” said Asmussen. “She was a nice filly early that continuously competed and got better. All four races this year have been tremendous. It is so satisfying for her to come back and get her first Grade 1 on Oaks Day. She did her best last year in the Oaks. You can see the improvement one year has made in her.”