Rangeview Stud shuttler Henny Hughes came close to siring his first classic winner with Beholder in the G1 Kentucky Oaks on Friday. His Champion 2YO Filly held a two-length lead in the straight but was run down and beaten a half-length by long-shot Princess of Sylmar.
The huge crowd had earlier stirred up Beholder when she unseated jockey Garrett Gomez in the enclosure. “She ran a really tremendous race, especially considering what happened in the parade,” Gomez added. “I just wish she didn’t expend so much energy before the race.”
“It’s probably one of her best ever races,” Gomez said. “When I told her to go, she went.”
Gomez would have preferred if Princess of Sylmar and her jockey Mike Smith had come closer instead of finishing down the centre of the track. “Mike stayed out and away from me,” he said. “He knows my filly likes a fight.”
The Henny Hughes filly was making her first trip outside of Southern California. “She pulled up a little tired but she appears to be fine,” trainer Richard Mandella said a day after the classic. “I won’t run her back quickly. She will get a little time back home. After a while, we will look around and see what’s next.”
The $190,000 purse for second increased her career earnings to $1.76 million from a 9-5-3-0 scorecard.
In the G1 Kentucky Derby on Saturday, Yarradale Stud newcomer Frost Giant was represented by his first-crop colt Giant Finish.
The New York colt was always well-placed and, despite the muddy coats and colours, his white blaze was prominent from the outset. “Giant Finish ran great but Jose (Espinoza) said didn’t handle the track very well,” assistant trainer Ray Handal declared after the colt finished 10th. “He ran hard. He’s tired and rightfully so. We’re very pleased with him.”
Giant Finish spent a couple of days at Churchill Downs before returning home to trainer Tony Dutrow. “He laid it all out there. That’s the way he is.” Handal added. “Tony will meet with the owners before figuring out a game plan for the summer.”
Fellow Yarradale shuttler War Chant was denied a Group 2 by a nose on the Kentucky Derby support card.
War Chant’s iron-horse Chamberlain Bridge flew home in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (1000m) but was just denied by Brazilian import Berlino Di Tiger.
Chamberlain Bridge has contested the Twin Spires Turf Sprint for the last five years – winning in 2009 and running a place in three of the past four editions. He also won the G2 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2010.