Week of May 7, 2012
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Stakes record fell, betting records were set, history was made and exciting finishes were the order of the day during the most anticipated weekend of the year.

In the Kentucky Oaks (chart) Believe You Can and Broadway’s Alibi put on a fantastic show with Believe You Can validating the power of positive thinking. Winning jockey Rosie Napravnik became the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Oaks, which was also her first Grade 1 win. Napravnik rode second place St. John’s River last year. Believe You Can may follow in the the same path as Proud Spell: the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont on June 23 and Grade 1 Alabama on August 14 at Saratoga according to trainer Larry Jones. All of the other Oaks fillies came out of the race well.

Kentucky Derby (chart) winner I’ll Have Another was the first horse to win from the 19th post, ending what blogger Chris Hernandez has long referred to as “The Drought” by becoming the first horse since Sunday Silence in 1989 to win both the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby. Second place Bodemeister put doubts about his abilities to rest when he almost took the field wire to wire. Third place Dullahan, who was eight wide coming into the stretch and narrowly missed second place, also showed that he could perform well on dirt. Went the Day Well, who closed for fourth was the only horse in the field to be running faster in his final quarter than the previous one. I’ll Have Another (and Lava Man!) will be shipping out to Pimlico today to prepare for the Preakness. Instead of trying to recount all the next moves of the field, we’ve provided links from the various trades at the bottom of this post.

On Friday at Churchill Downs, Juanita validated Havre de Grace’s pre-retirement form when she won the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes (chart). Juanita ran a respectable second to the reigning Horse of Year last out in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes. Last years first and second place Kentucky Oaks runners ran third (Plum Pretty) and second (St. John’s River). Bob Baffert’s Contested smoked the Eight Belles (chart) field in the first of three stakes record performances. Edgewood Stakes (chart) winner Stephanie’s Kitten might be on her way Royal Ascot after setting the second stakes record of the day. And Successful Dan ran down a game Fort Larned for the third consecutive stakes record performance in the Alysheba Stakes (chart). After a brief rain delay Silver Max and Travel Advisory reprized their 1-2 run from the Transylvania Stakes in the American Turf Stakes (chart).

Great Attack lived up to his name, kicking off the Derby day graded stakes action with bang when won the Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (chart) with an eye-popping late kick . Next up was Shackleford, who scored his first victory since the 2011 Preakness when he defeated current sprint champion Amazombie in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Stakes (chart). Hungry Island was up next in the Grade 2 Distaff Turf Mile (chart), she’ll point to the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park on the Belmont Stakes undercard. Groupie Doll proved that her last win was no fluke with her track record winning run in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff (chart). She’ll get a break for a few weeks while her connections plan the rest of her campaign. And Little Mike, winner of the Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes, killed a lot of Pick 3s and Picks 4s (including mine!) with his upset in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Stakes (chart).

Elsewhere, in his first appearance since last year’s Whitney Handicap, Morning Line made his first start for new trainer John Shirreffs a winning one in the Grade 2 Mervyn LeRoy Handicap (chart) at Hollywood Park. The Californian Stakes on June 2 is his likely next stop. Former Kentucky Oaks hopeful Reneesgotzip made her first positive step toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint when we won an allowance (chart) against older fillies and mares at Hollywood Park going a more suitable 6 1/2 furlongs. Her next stop will be the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont on May 28. In a sad twist of fate Senorita Stakes (chart) winner Bobina broke down right after the wire and had to be euthanized.

Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby Link Roundup
Brisnet: I’ll Have Another to depart Churchill for Pimlico on Monday
Brisnet: Take Charge Indy scheduled for surgery
Brisnet: Derby also-rans exit Churchill, connections pondering Preakness
Brisnet: Union Rags well following troubled Derby run
Brisnet: Went the Day Well, Prospective suffer cuts but fine following Derby
Brisnet: Preakness possible as Bodemeister exits Derby in good shape
Brisnet: Mark Valeski arrives at Belmont, to work for Peter Pan
Brisnet: Believe You Can gives Napravnik historic win in Kentucky Oaks
Brisnet: Kentucky Oaks They Said It
Brisnet: Believe You Can ‘bright and happy’ following Oaks win
Brisnet: Napravnik receives warm welcome at Belmont
DRF: Matz calls Union Rags’s race a disaster
DRF: I’ll Have Another leaving for Preakness on Monday
DRF: Take Charge Indy to have surgery for chip in ankle, will miss summer races

Keep up with all the post-race 2012 Kentucky Derby and 2012 Kentucky Oaks commentary at Raceday 360 Wire!


Last Week’s Races


2012 Kentucky Oaks Replay
Believe You Can and Broadway’s Alibi put a spectacular show.


2012 Kentucky Derby Replay
I’ll Have Another runs down Bodemeister with Dullahan and Went the Day Well closing in.


2012 Reneesgotzip Allowance Replay
Former Oaks hopeful cuts back and starts on the path toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint


2012 Fort Marcy Stakes Replay
Boisterous has bragging rights


2012 Beaugay Stakes Replay
Winter Memories pushes her way through.


Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

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