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Black Onyx scratched from Kentucky Derby too late to be replaced. His No. 1 post position will be left empty.
Black Onyx's trainer Kelly Breen answers questions before the running of the 139th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Black Onyx was scratched from Saturday's Kentucky Derby after a chip was discovered in his ankle.
Jockey Mike Smith and owner Ed Stanco celebrate after Smith rode Princess of Sylmar to a win in the 139th Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday in Louisville, Ky.
Friday, May 3, 2013
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Long-shot Princess of Sylmar rallied with a huge stretch run to win the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs.
One of four fillies trained by Todd Pletcher in the Grade 1 race, the 38-1 long shot upstaged 3-2 favorite Dreaming of Julia. That positioned Pletcher for a weekend sweep today in the Kentucky Derby, where he has a record-tying five entries - including Verrazano.
A slow start doomed Dreaming of Julia, who lagged behind before recovering in the stretch to finish fourth. By then, Princess of Sylmar was thrilling a crowd of 113,820 with her third win in four starts this year.
Starting from the No. 6 post with Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard, Princess of Sylmar ran 1 1⁄8 miles in 1:49.17 and paid $79.60, $29.40 and $14.00. Beholder returned $9 and $5.60, and Unlimited Budget, another Pletcher entry, paid $3.80 to show.
Princess of Sylmar gave Pletcher his third Oaks win and Smith his first, adding to a resume highlighted by a career Triple Crown - including a 2005 Derby victory aboard Giacomo.
"I've never come close in the Kentucky Oaks and I've always wanted to win this race so bad," Smith said. "I thank Todd for putting her in."
On numbers alone, Pletcher figured to get some return in the 10-horse field along with four competitors, including 48-1 choice Silsita. Dreaming of Julia was expected to provide the payoff, bringing in a 4-1-1 record including a 22-length win in her last start at Gulfstream Park on March 30.
But with a deep field featuring several unbeaten competitors, anything was possible.
Unlimited Budget, sired by 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense by Unlimited Pleasure, came into the race 4-0 under Pletcher. Close Hatches was 3-0 for trainer Bill Mott while Midnight Lucky was 2-0, providing Bob Baffert's lone on-track presence at Churchill Downs in a week that saw him scratch Code West and Govenor Charlie from the Derby.
Princess of Sylmar had her own claim to make with four wins in six career starts and a second to Close Hatches in last month's Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct. Smith ultimately helped her talent show in the final turn.
As the field turned for home, Smith had her in the clear but fourth behind Midnight Lucky, Beholder and Unlimited Budget. Beholder dispatched Midnight Lucky but was caught by Princess of Sylmar in the stretch.
Black Onyx scratched from Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Long shot Black Onyx was a late scratch for the Kentucky Derby because of a chip in his left ankle, leaving 19 horses to vie for the roses.
The scratch occurred Friday after early wagering for the race had opened, so Black Onyx's No. 1 post position will be left empty today. The remaining horses will stay in their original starting gate positions.
Trainer Kelly Breen said the colt looked good training on Friday, but he had some swelling in the ankle. An X-ray was taken which revealed the chip.
"He's back in the barn. He's not feeling that bad because he just tried to bite me," Breen said. "It couldn't have been worse timing."
He said it's too early to know if Black Onyx will need surgery or just recover on his own.
The scratch came too late for Fear the Kitten to get into the Derby. The colt was on the list of also eligibles as the 21st qualifier in the point standings which determine the field.
Black Onyx qualified for the Derby by winning the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. He was 50-1 on the morning line.
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