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Jul 25, 2014

Stopchargingmaria too strong in Coaching Club American Oaks


Saratoga Springs. NY ( - Stopchargingmaria, the post time favorite, drove past her five 3-year-old rivals to easily win Sunday's $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course.

Stopchargingmaria, making her first start in two months, went off as the 6-5 favorite for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks which serves as the final prep race for the 1 1/4-mile, $600,000 Alabama on August 16.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Javier Castellano, Stopchargingmaria pressed the pace being set by Miss Besilu and Taketheodds. The favorite joined the leaders around the final turn and went by them entering the stretch.

Stopchargingmaria, owned by Repole Stable, surged through the stretch on her way to a five-length victory on a fast track. The win is the sixth in the Oaks for her trainer and the second straight and third overall for her jockey. Pletcher and Castellano teamed up to win with Princess of Sylmar last year.

"The huge thing was to win a Grade 1 (with Stopcharingmaria)," said Pletcher. "A filly of her resume to get that Grade 1 was huge. I thought she ran well enough today to certainly earn a spot in the Alabama."

Finishing second was Unbridled Forever followed by Miss Besilu, America and Taketheodds. Courageous Julie finished last and raced for purse money only.

The time for the Oaks was 1:49.80.

The Oaks win was worth $180,000 to bring Stopchargingmaria's career earnings to $1,054,000 with five wins in nine lifetime starts.

The filly had not raced since claiming the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 16. Stopchargingmaria was fourth in the Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park on April 5. She began 2014 with a fifth in the Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park.

Stopchargingmaria returned $4.40, $2.60 and $2.10. Unbridled Forever paid $2.90 and $2.20, and Miss Besilu paid $2.50 to show.

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