You’ll be seeing I’m a Chatterbox and Lovely Maria competing against each other again.
But maybe not in the Fair Grounds Oaks.
The two Larry Jones-trained fillies finished 1-2 in the $175,000 Rachel Alexandra on Saturday at the Fair Grounds, and Jones said he isn’t sure he will pit them against each other again in the Oaks on March 28. Jones also had a third horse in the mile and 1/16 race, seventh-place finisher White Clover.
“There’s a lot of other good races at that time,” Jones said. “So we try do divide them up a little bit.
“But definitely Chatterbox and Lovely Maria may come back here instead. It’s wide open.”
Either way, I’m a Chatterbox, which earlier won the Silverbulletday, has more than enough qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks. Lovely Maria, who earned 20 points, on Saturday, would likely qualify with a top four finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks or any other late points races.
Eden Prairie claims Bayou
Eden Prairie, nearly even with Istanford entering the final stretch of the Bayou Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, gave trainer Neil Pessin a reason to be thrilled.
“She looked the other filly in the eye and just pulled away from her,” Pessin said of Eden Prairie’s final push, earning a win by 11/2 lengths. She’s a very competitive filly. In fact, at the very end, she was probably letting up a little bit because she had the lead by herself.”
The victory showed vast improvements for Eden Prairie, which Pessin said is learning to run with more patience, able to conserve energy in second or third place until called upon late by jockey Florent Geroux.
Chocolate Ride continues climb
In November, assistant trainer Ricky Giannini was part of a group which claimed Chocolate Ride at Churchill Downs for $40,000.
Now he’s a Grade III winner.
From gate to wire, Chocolate Ride paced the $125,000 Fair Grounds Handicap, dominating the 11?8-mile turf race with Geroux, winning his second race in as many starts. Before the back-to-back wins, Chocolate ride had one win in 10 starts.
“When we claimed him, he had some minor foot issues which we’ve gotten straighten out and found his potential,” said Giannini. “He was an expensive yearling. (His previous owners) thought something of him when they bought him. We just got lucky to pick him up at a discount.”
Street Babe prevails
Michael Dilger was looking for a rider and Kerwin Clark was looking for a horse.
The two strangers managed to hook up and the result was a victory by long shot Street Babe in the $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap.
Street Babe, a four-year old, had only raced twice before Saturday, but Dilger, a former Todd Pletcher assistant who had never brought a horse of his own to the Fair Grounds, said he liked the looks of the track and the timing of the race. Meanwhile, Clark was to have ridden Albano in the race, but the horse was withdrawn after poor workouts.
“You’re going to see a lot of this horse,” Clark said. “He was just playing around today.”
Bet Seattle upsets Delauny
The big money was on Delauny, but those who bet on Bet Seattle were rewarded by his wire-to-wire victory in the six-furlong Duncan Kenner Stakes.
“Delauny’s a tough old horse,” Bet Seattle owner/trainer Hugh Robertson said. “But Bet Seattle usually brings his best race, too, and we did it today.”
Bet Seattle, ridden by Francisco Torres, had won five of his last six starts, the exception being the Bonapaw Stakes on Jan. 3 where he was behind Delauny and Heiti.
That result, and Delauny’s otherwise dominance at the Far Grounds (six victories in seven starts on the track) made the Tom Amoss-trained 8-year-old the 1-5 favorite in his 50th career start.
But in a small, four-horse field Bet Seattle beat Delauny to the lead and never let his rival overtake him, winning by two lengths.