Exactly As Smokey Stover Planned, a KY Oaks Triumph

KY Oaks (Grade 1)- $1,250.000 Purse
CD- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
May 6, 2022

The 19th running of the KYO is in the books, and for the second time, Smokey Stover is celebrating picking up the win. Getting it done for him this year would be Exactly, a filly that he acquired three months ago for $500.000. The last time Smokey Stover won the race, it was back in 2019, with Tenrikyo. Running just prior to the KYO on the card was the La Troienne, a race won by Tenrikyo and Smokey Stover, so the trainer had to be thinking that would be a good omen for Exactly in this race. Congratulations to him on this big win, but you better believe that there is plenty more for this filly to accomplish for the rest of this season, and beyond. She has been extremely consistent, hitting the board in all of her starts that were not her debut race. Now, she will likely have stable ownership, since she has changed hands twice in the last five months. Smokey Stover tends to hang on to horses like this, especially female horses, so with these two together, the sky really is the limit for Exactly. The winning jockey is J C Ferrer, and there is good chemistry between him and Exactly. It is his first win in this race. The winning time of 1:48.74 is a middle of the road time for races run on a fast track. Let’s take a look!

(½ Mile- :47.59)- We have four horses vying for the early lead right from the gate and running down the front stretch. Winning this battle would be Wander, from Mb Stables, doing so while running in the fourth lane and staying there throughout the opening turn. Her lead is only a neck over the second place Paris Broadway, from Arindel, and she is slightly ahead of Karloffs Monster, trained by TwinTowersRacing, as that one holds the rail. With this group, but a half length behind them is Asgar’s Bronze Freak. We initially have three stalkers, but by the time we get to the half mile point, running in the fifth position would be Theres No Doubt, from Angelos Stable. She was not an initial stalker out of the gate, but pushed forward assertively in the esarly going to be in that position here. Three horses are to her outside, and one of them is our eventual winner, Smokey Stover’s Exactly. She runs in the third lane at this time, and is credited with running eighth at this juncture because the two to her inside are about a head in front of her. Those fillies included her stablemate, The Intouchables, and Main Flirt on the rail for Mb Stables. A length behind them, and running in the fourth and fifth lanes are Curlina (Arindel) and Present Tense (Mb Stables). Derby Connection (Two Hearts One Love) and Sister Crespi (Nakamura Stables) are next, and it’s a couple lengths to State Star (Our Athletes) and another to Drilldownfortruth (TwinTowersRacing).

(3/4 Mile- 1:11.38)- Completing the backstretch run and moving into the turn, there is not much that changes with the initial group of four frontunners. They are still spread out across the track with Wander holding a half length advantage with them. She continues to have to do this while running in the fourth lane. Paris Broadway runs second, and seems to be in a good position as they make their way around the turn, and that can also be said for Karloffs Monster. Bronze Freak is still holding her line with this group and is a within a length of Wander. Going back further, Theres No Doubt runs fifth still, and she does not push forward any further in the backstretch in the way that she did in the opening turn. The other three shift down a lane, perhaps initiated by Main Flirt on the inside who did not want to run into Karloffs Monster. This set up Exactly perfectly, as now she would be in the lane right behind Wander, so if she wanted to begin a run at this point, she could at least clear the two she had been running with before setting her sights on passing the pacesetters. Her stablemate, The Intouchables, was not going to be as fortunate. Curlina and Present Tense still run together on the outside but things were setting up very well for Derby Connection. That filly was just sitting on the rail up to this point, and with lane shift ahead of her by Main Flirt, Derby Connection could push forward, just staying on the rail, and get by several of these if she had the legs underneath her to do it. Sister Crespi seemed to have ambition to push forward here, but did not have a lane as of yet to do it in. State Star needed to get moving now if she had any chance, and Drilldownfortruth would have to drill down for a massive close at this point.

(Top of Stretch, 1.8F To Go)- May the push to the win begin! Moving into the stretch, trainers held their breath as there were nine horses that were within a length of the front at this point. The leader here would be Bronze Freak, who handled the turn a little better than the others that were running in the front group early on, making Asgar hoping she would have plenty left in the tank for the stretch. But both Paris Broadway and Wander were running right beside her, doing all that they could to hang on. Karloffs Monster looked a little more vulnerable, but was still fighting. The stalkers were coming, and there was a wide open hole sitting here for Exactly to come on through and join the front group and pass them. She had not done that yet, but you could see that she had that skip in her stride for the stretch that she planned on doing that. Main Flirt, possibly, could have a hole in front of her as well, but The Intouchables was not as fortunate. Theres No Doubt was committed to the outside the whole race and now had to make it work for the stretch. On the flip side, if you ever wanted a definition of “textbook rail trip”, that was Derby Connection’s run as she drew closer. Sister Crespi was in behind them, hoping that following Main Flirt would be the best plan. Curlina and Present Tense were fading out of it, though State Star looked like she could have a little something late. Drilldownfortruth did not have it today.

(Finish- 1:48.74)- In the stretch, the front horses spread out a lot more than I was anticipating that they would, but that was great news for those in the stalking positions. We could see that there was plenty of room for Exactly to make her run, and she burst through that hole in front of her to take the lead with a little less than a furlong to go. Now, all she had to do was look behind her, and fend off any late closing challengers. But with so many still close by, she only needed to be concerned with herself, and she would not back down in the final moments to get the big victory and call herself a KYO champion! Running second was Derby Connection, who stayed out of traffic the whole race, score a big result for her trainer, and perhaps make people wonder what other horses are at the free track that could be thriving at higher levels if their owners could consistently take on the high nomination fees associated with this chase. Bronze Freak ran gamely to the wire to be third, and Sister Crespi found enough room late to get the final piece of the purse by a nose over Main Flirt. Paris Broadway was very close as well, as was the late running State Star and outside running Theres No Doubt. Karloffs Monster and The Intouchables were outrun by their rivals but can bounce back well from this. Wander tired late. The remaining three, Present Tense, Curlina, and Drilldownfortruth are the only horses here who were solidly beaten.

About The Winner- Exactly, trained by Smokey Stover and ridden to victory by J C Ferrer, is a three year old filly by Sweet Sweat and is out of Verbatim. He was bred in New York as a first quarter two year old and acquired by the trainer from Fractious in February for $500.000. Congratulations to the connections! The win is her fourth in eleven starts, and her second stake win, each of which are graded. Her career earnings are now $1,273.800.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Exactly Smokey Stover Ferrer J C 11.80   11 1:48.74 — 
  Derby Connection Two Hearts One Love Alvarado F T 11.05   2nk 1:48.94 — 
  Bronze Freak Asgar Sanchez M J 17.15   3hd 1:49.00 — 
  Sister Crespi Nakamura Stables Carrasco V R 7.05   4no 1:49.03 — 
  Main Flirt Mb Stables Jaramillo E 9.70   5nk 1:49.05 — 
  Paris Broadway Arindel Velazquez J R 4.30   6no 1:49.11 — 
  State Star Our Athletes Gaffalione T 32.80   7hd 1:49.12 — 
  Theres No Doubt Angelos Stable Garcia Mar 11.85   81/2 1:49.15 — 
  Karloffs Monster TwinTowersRacing Davis D 9.35   9hd 1:49.26 — 
  The Intouchables Smokey Stover Cedillo A 10.90   101/4 1:49.29 — 
  Wander Mb Stables Saez L 15.65   112 1:49.37 — 
  Present Tense Mb Stables Franco M 7.85   121/2 1:49.86 — 
  Curlina Arindel Hernandez C J 12.15   131 1:50.00 — 
  Drilldownfortruth TwinTowersRacing Gonzalez Ru 49.75   14 1:50.29 — 

Track: Fast

Time: :472  1:111  1:36   1:483

$2 Mutuel Prices:

8 – Exactly 25.60 10.90 7.30
1 – Derby Connection   11.10 7.30
10 – Bronze Freak     8.70

$1 Exacta: 8 – 1 Paid 159.00

$1 Trifecta: 8 – 1 – 10 Paid 1,557.10

Scratched: Directors Chair, Poison Candy

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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