Louisville, KY (SportsNetwork.com) – Lovely Maria stalked the leaders then
pounced coming into the stretch as the 3-year-old filly cruised to victory
in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/8-mile race is the companion event to Saturday’s 141st Kentucky Derby
and attracted a full field of 14 fillies.
Trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Kerwin Clark, Lovely Maria got an
excellent start and settled into fourth as the field went around the first
turn and into the backstretch.
Lovely Maria, owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton C. Jones, moved into
third on the final turn right alongside 4-1 second pick Condo Commando and
21-1 longshot Angela Renee.
Sent off as the 6-1 fourth choice, Lovely Maria was on the lead with Angela
Renee entering the stretch but quickly pulled away. Lovely Maria posted a
2 3/4-length victory over 26-1 longshot Shook Up to give her owner and trainer
their third Oaks win.
“When I blew her out the other day I know she went quick, but she did it so
easy. I knew she was ready and I knew Larry and the whole team had her ready,”
said Clark, the only jockey the filly has ever had. “It doesn’t get any better
Finishing third was 5-1 co-third pick I’m a Chatterbox, also trained by Jones,
with 3-1 favorite Stellar Wind fourth and co-third pick Birdatthewire fifth,
followed by Angela Renee, Oceanwave, Include Betty, Condo Commando,
Eskenformoney, Forever Unbridled, Puca, Money’soncharlotte and Sarah Sis.
The time for the Kentucky Oaks, in front of a record 123,763 fans, was 1:50.45
on a fast track.
Lovely Maria pocketed $564,200 with the win and increased her career earnings
to $966,800 with four wins and three seconds in eight starts.
The filly won Keeneland’s Ashland Stakes on April 4 after finishing second in
the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds on Feb. 21.
This owner and trainer combination previously won the Kentucky Oaks with Proud
Spell in 2008 and Believe You Can in 2012.
“Larry Jones is a great guy,” Clark said immediately after the race. “He’s had
all the confidence in the world with me. He never wavered. It’s just a
blessing that I’m with these people, they’re great people. They’ve given me an
opportunity to be here on this day and I can’t thank them enough.”
Lovely Maria returned $14.60, $7.80 and $5.40. Shook Up paid $20.20 and
$11.40, and I’m a Chatterbox paid $5.00 to show.