LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Untapable surged past My Miss Sophia entering the stretch and rolled to a 4½-length victory Friday in the 140th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Rosie Napravnik and breaking from the far 13th spot, the overwhelming favorite in the $1 million race for 3-year-old fillies earned her third straight victory and fifth in seven starts. Untapable has won her last three by a combined margin of nearly 22 lengths.
Untapable stayed within reach of early leaders Sugar Shock, My Miss Sophia and Thank You Marylou before getting clear outside turning for home. The winner ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68, the race’s second-fastest time, and paid $4, $3.20 and $2.60.
My Miss Sophia returned $4.20 and $4.40, and Unbridled Forever paid $6.00.
Empress of Midway, partly owned by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino, was scratched after flipping in the gate.
“She was really great today,” said Napravnik, who earned her second Oaks victory just two years after winning aboard Believe You Can. “We ended up in a great position from the outside post.
“She runs her best when she can get in a great stride. She relaxes so nice. She’s growing up and is maturing. She is magnificent.”
Untapable’s dramatic finish followed some pre-race suspense involving two horses who violently balked in the gate.
The first was Empress of Midway, who sat down for a tense moment after flipping. Jockey Corey Nakatani wasn’t hurt and stood by watching as workers quickly got the horse out; she walked away uninjured but was quickly scratched.
“She just went up in the gate and lost her balance and kind of sat down on her haunches and couldn’t get herself back up in the right position,” track veterinarian Larry Bramlage said afterward.
“We didn’t see anything obviously wrong and she’s back to her barn.”
Minutes after horses in surrounding gates were guided back in, second betting choice Fashion Plate also had issues before settling down. She hopped out of the gate and quickly fell behind in finishing 11th of 12 entrants.
At that point, Napravnik was guiding Untapable to one of her smoothest victories before 113,071, which is saying something considering how dominant she has been this year. The jockey has been aboard for all but one of Untapable’s fun rides and used Churchill Downs’ fast track to guide the horse right where she wanted.
It was no contest after Untapable caught My Miss Sophia, quickly gaining a length and extending things from there.
On the Backstreets wins
ARCADIA, Calif. — On the Backstreets won the $78,250 Ultrafleet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies by 2¼ lengths at Santa Anita on Friday.
Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, On the Backstreets ran 6½ furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:12.08 and paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10 as the odds-on favorite.
Clenor returned $3.20 and $2.80, while Sushi Empire was another half-length back in third and paid $3 to show.
On the Backstreets was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Ashland Stakes on Keeneland’s synthetic surface on April 5. Her two previous victories on Santa Anita’s turf course included the Sweet Life Stakes on Feb. 15.
The victory, worth $46,800, increased On the Backstreets’ career earnings to $171,294. The Pennsylvania-bred filly is 3 for 3 on the turf at Santa Anita.
Marriedtothemusic by a head
NEW YORK — Marriedtothemusic won by a head in a three-way photo finish in the $100,000 Affirmed Success for New York breds on Friday at Belmont Park.
It was the seventh win, and the first in a stakes, for the 4-year-old trained by Linda Rice. And it was an adventurous trip.
The 1-2 favorite, Marriedtothemusic broke poorly and jockey Cornelio Velasquez lost a stirrup.
Horse and rider gamely recovered to get back in the hunt. Marriedtothemusic edged Night Maneuver, with Weekend Hideaway another head back in third.
The time was 1:10.54 for six furlongs on the fast track.
Marriedtothemusic paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10. Night Maneuver returned $2.20 and $2.10, and Weekend Hideaway paid $2.40.