Lite Light puts rest of Oaks field in dark KENTUCKY DERBY NOTES

May 04, 1991|By Marty McGee | Marty McGee,Sun Staff Correspondent

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Once the field turned for home in yesterday's $318,900 Kentucky Oaks, it became obvious no one could touch Lite Light.

The 3-year-old filly, owned by the family of rap musician M.C. ("U Can't Touch This") Hammer, cruised to a 10-length victory over Withallprobability in Churchill Downs' annual 3-year-old filly race.

Corey Nakatani rode Lite Light, who is owned by the Oaktown Stable of Lewis Burrell Sr., Hammer's father. Oaktown bought the filly privately this year. She paid $3.80 to win as favorite in a field of 10.

Burrell said he may want to try Lite Light against colts in the Belmont Stakes on June 8.

Lite Light set a stakes record in the 117th Kentucky Oaks, running the 1 1/8 -mile distance in 1 minute, 48 4/5 seconds over a fast track. She is 7-for-14 lifetime and has earned $928,391.

It was a day for records: The 10-race Oaks card attracted an all-time high of 73,785 fans. And in the race before the Oaks -- the $192,400 Early Times Turf Classic -- Opening Verse lowered the track mark for 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Opening Verse, a 5-year-old, was up in the final strides to win by a nose over 1990 turf champion Itsallgreektome. He ran in 1:47 1/5, breaking Manila's 4-year-old standard of 1:48 4/5.

Chris McCarron rode Opening Verse, beaten favorite in last year's Pimlico Special. The winning trainer, Dick Lundy, also trains Dinard, who was favored to win today's Kentucky Derby before being declared out with an injury last week.

The Early Times is the first leg in the new Turf Triple, a three-race series run at the Triple Crown host tracks.

* After advance wagering yesterday at Churchill, Hansel was the 9-5 favorite, followed by Strike the Gold (4-1), Fly So Free (5-1), Best Pal (6-1) and Corporate Report (7-1).

A total of $687,517 has been wagered in the win, place and show pools.

* The National Weather Service forecast for the Louisville area today calls for a 50 percent chance of afternoon thundershowers and a high of 75 degrees.

Of the Big Four, only Hansel has run on a sloppy or muddy track. Last August, he ran in two graded stakes for which the tracks were rated muddy, finishing second and third.

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