KY Oaks (Grade 1)- $1,000.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
May 4, 2018
After some showers made the track wet enough to be downgraded to good, and then a delay to get the race going that kept most of us in suspense, we were able to get the 2018 KY Oaks underway. No one is sure why the race didn’t go off exactly at post time, but there would be no delay in the running of Misty Firefox, who powered home in the stretch to win for trainer Crocker Ggs. It is the first time that the trainer has won any Grade 1 event, and his 12th overall graded win, and what a way to pick up that win! I thought highly of her in the preview, but did not pick her because I was going off on a hunch that proved to be wrong that she would run into traffic trouble in the stretch. In reality, she made quick work of her rivals in the stretch, and you have to think there will plenty more Grade 1 wins for Crocker Ggs as long as he has this one in his stable. Congratulations to him, as well as F Pennington, who wins his second straight KYO. The time of the win was 1:50.13, and since it was an off track, we cannot really compare it to prior editions. Let’s take a look at it!
(½ Mile- :47.12)- The crowd roared as the KYO was finally underway after an unexpected delay, but it was not a surprise to see Toppedout’s Dashing Throughout jump out to the lead. She commonly likes to live up to her name, and tried to do the same thing here. As far as leading at a half mile though, she was beat to the punch by Beat To The Punch, from Mb Stables, also from an outside post, and the two of them ran side by side early. Running third would La Terrifiant, the BC Juvenile Fillies winner now running in the Our Athletes silks. She assumed a stalking position, and had company from Jokes On You, who made her debut for Smokey Stover. The maiden, British Chai, from Mo Mentum Farm was in the pack around the first turn, but crept up a little closer while running five wide. To her inside, On The Square, from Crocker Ggs, seemed to like that idea as well and advanced a tad from the pack. In the middle of the field, we had a four wide group consisting of, from inside to outside, Molly Magne (Gdp Inc), Enoughs Enough (Mb Stables), Diminuendo (Smokey Stover), and Ivanka (Winning Link Stables), who’d make me look bad for pick her to win (yikes!) Most Charming, the post time favorite from Mb Stables was a length behind them. Following her, we get to our closers and find Quiver Pond (Estero Farms) and Manifest (Smokey Stover). Trailing would be Misty Firefox, our eventual winner from Crocker Ggs. She would have position on the rail, with about eight lengths to make up. There would be room for her, at least at this point, to have a pretty comfortable advance to about mid-field when she decided to go, and F Pennington was hoping it would stay like this.
(Six Furlongs- 1:11.35)- Running down the backstretch, Beat To The Punch starts to put Dashing Throughout away on the front end. She leads now by a length and a half as Dashing Throughout slips into the clutches of the stalkers. La Terrifiant was looking real good here, having a great position on the rail, and was poised to take over the second position. The same could be said for Jokes On You who was three wide in the turn, but positioned well overall. On the far outside, it looked like British Chai was going to make a more emphatic run in the turn but could not make it stick. On The Square continued to run to her inside. Behind her, the midpack horses had not changed their order all that much, and Most Charming was in a tough spot, in a five wide spot. Back further, Quiver Pond and Manifest were not pushing forward yet, but F Pennington was sure to capitalize on the rail opening for Misty Firefox that was still there. She was still trailing by six and a half, but looked good.
(Top Of Stretch, 2F To Go)- While not a lot of time on the race track went by, this was a really interesting segment of the race to be watching Misty Firefox. Instead of staying on the rail, which it seemed like she would, she came down pretty hard into a couple of her rivals to look for another lane, possibly by Diminuendo. At the time the move was made, this did not seem to be the right decision, but it proved to be that way in the end. She was now within five lengths, and knowing her closing kick, she would just have to hope for a lane to open up. If it did, and did so soon, she would have a great shot. Had I watched it live, I would have thought she was setting herself up for the traffic trouble. At the front, Beat To The Punch still led, and maintained the same length and a half lead over La Terrifiant with Jokes On You right alongside her. Dashing Throughout began to tire, as more prepared to go on by. Enough Enough, Diminuendo, On The Square, Molly Magne, and British Chai were next, but not looking like a major challenge was coming from any of them at this stage. On the outside though, Most Charming was looking real good, needing to gain three and a half lengths on her stablemate. Next is where we found Misty Firefox, and on the outside, Manifest was beginning to her best stride. Quiver Pond didn’t have much room here, and the trailer was now Ivanka.
(Finish- 1:50.13)- With a furlong to go, I liked where La Terrifiant was. She seemed to be gaining on the leader, and Misty Firefox seemed to be trapped by Diminunedo. Then, Diminunedo did her a favor, and moved down a lane. With a furlong to go, Misty Firefox had no one in front of her, and could now show everyone her powerful stretch kick. There was now three lengths to make up. Could she do it? She would also have to pass Most Charming, who ran exceptionally well on the outside and was also two and a half lengths ahead of her. It would require then, an incredibly special effort by Misty Firefox to get by all of them, and win. With three quarters of a furlong to go, the push began, and soon enough it became mind boggling just how much more energy she had then the best fillies in the game today. Stunning, indeed, and an overall amazing push to get up just in time for the win. She catches Most Charming just in time, making the KYO still the biggest race Mb Stables has never won. La Terrifiant did everything right in running third, and this is a good result for her going forward. Beat To The Punch held off former stablemates Jokes On You for fourth. Sixth is Diminuendo, who looked like she was caught in the tailwind of Misty Firefox’s sudden acceleration. Still, she should be on Misty Firefox’s Christmas card list for the move over in the stretch. Manifest got up for seventh while running on the far outside and having a forgivable tough trip. After her are the also-rans, who really didn’t contend. Enoughs Enough, Molly Magne, Quiver Pond, On The Square, British Chai, Dashing Throughout, and Ivanka.
About The Winner: Misty Firefox, trained by Crocker Ggs, and ridden to victory by F Pennington, is a three year old filly by Nebulizer, and is out of Firefox (by Cherokee Sunset). She was bred in Ontario by Crocker Ggs, and they have been together throughout. Congratulations to the connections! The win is her sixth in eight starts, her fourth consecutive, third graded stake win, and first Grade 1 win. Her career earnings are now $1,031.480.
Time: :47 1:111 1:37 1:50
$2 Mutuel Prices:
$1 Exacta: 6 – 14 Paid 238.40
$1 Trifecta: 6 – 14 – 8 Paid 1,439.00
Scratched: Fascinating Bottom, Nice Tactical Speed, Jinxed Queen
Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES