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May 10, 2012

Believe You Can captures Kentucky Oaks


Louisville, KY (Sports Network) - Believe You Can, ridden by Rosie Napravnik, was unfazed by a delayed post-time to win 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.

The start of the Oaks had to be delayed about 40 minutes due to a storm front that came through Louisville earlier in the afternoon. In spite of the rain the track was listed as fast for the Oaks.

Breaking first from the gate was 4-1 co-second choice Broadway's Alibi. Joining her on the front end entering the first turn was Believe You Can and jockey Rosie Napravnik. Grace Hall, the 5-2 favorite, was racing off the leaders near the rail.

The top two runners led the field up the backstretch and into the far turn while Grace Hall and jockey Javier Castellano began to advance between horses.

Coming out of the final turn Broadway's Alibi and rider John Velazquez had a short lead over Believe You Can who went off at 13-1. With about 300 yards to go, Believe You Can edged past Broadway's Alibi and was able to hold off the rival filly to win by three-quarters of a length.

Finishing third was Grace Hall followed by Summer Applause, 4-1 co-second choice On Fire Baby, Sacristy, Amie's Dini, And Why Not, Jemima's Pearl, Colonial Empress, Karlovy Vary, Yara, Eden's Moon and Hard Not to Like.

The time for the Kentucky Oaks was 1:49.50.

The win was the second in the race for trainer Larry Jones who saddled Proud Spell to victory in 2008. Napravnik became the first female jockey to win the Oaks. Last year she finished second to Plum Pretty aboard St. John's River.

"It's unbelievable I can't even tell you," said the winning jockey. "I'm just so grateful."

Owned by Brereton Jones, Believe You Can adds $564,200 to her bankroll. The win was the third of the year for the filly who was coming off a victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks and earlier captured the Silverbulletday Stakes.

In nine career starts the filly has six wins for $1,059,484.

Believe You Can returned $29.60, $11.80 and $6.40. Broadway's Alibi paid $6.00 and $4.20, and Grace Hall paid $3.20 to show.

More than 112,000 people attended the Friday race program at Churchill Downs.

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