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May 13, 2011

Plum Pretty is sweet in winning Kentucky Oaks

By: SPORTS NETWORK


Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Plum Pretty, ridden by Martin Garcia, held off the late running St. John's River to capture Friday's $1 million Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile race for three-year-old fillies is the companion event to the Kentucky Derby.

Breaking from the 12 post in the 13 horse field, Plum Pretty stalked the pace that was being set by Summer Soiree. Racing third was Lilacs and Lace with Daisy Devine fourth and 2-1 favorite Joyful Victory running in fifth.

St. John's River, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, broke from the far outside post and quickly went to the rail as the field went under the wire for the first time. The filly trailed the field heading into the clubhouse turn.

Summer Soiree, with Gabriel Saez riding, led the field up the backstretch and into the far turn. Plum Pretty was second to the outside of the leader as Joyful Victory moved into third.

Plum Pretty, trained by Bob Baffert, took the lead coming out of the final turn and had a clear lead at the top of the stretch. St. John's River was gaining ground down the middle of the track.

Garcia continued to urge his mount as St. John's River cut into the lead. Plum Pretty hit the wire a neck in front of St. John's River before a crowd of more than 110,000 fans.

"Martin rode a beautiful race," Baffert said. "I got to give a lot of credit to my jockey and my assistant Jimmy Barnes."

Finishing third was Zazu followed by Joyful Victory, Bouquet Booth, Kathmanblu, Daisy Devine, Street Storm, Suave Voir Faire, Summer Soiree, Her Smile, Lilacs and Lace and Holy Heavens.

Plum Pretty covered the 1 1/8-miles in 1:49.50 on a fast track.

Owned by Peachtree Stable, Plum Pretty went off at 6-1 and returned $14.60, $7.00 and $4.60. St. John's River paid $13.20 and $7.20, and Zazu paid $4.00 to show.

Bred in Pennsylvania, the filly adds $570,000 to her bankroll which now stands at $760,800 with three wins in five lifetime starts. She was coming off a 25- length victory on March 27 in the Sunland Park Oaks as the 1-20 favorite. Plum Pretty began 2011 with a pair of third-place finshes in the Santa Ynez and Las Virgenes Stakes both at Santa Anita Park.

Baffert previously won the Kentucky Oaks in 1999 with Silverbulletday.

Blind Luck won the Oaks in 2010 one year after Rachel Alexandra devastated the field by more than 20-lengths.

Missing from this year's Oaks was pre-race favorite R Heat Lightning who was withdrawn on Monday with an injury. Owned by E. Paul Robsham Stable, the filly won the Gulfstream Oaks last month and last year was second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.



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