LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- There will be no Kentucky Oaks-Kentucky Derby double of horses owned by high-profile people affiliated with the New York Yankees.
Sis City, owned in part by Yankees manager Joe Torre, finished fourth as the 3-5 favorite in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies yesterday at Churchill Downs. Today, Bellamy Road, owned by George Steinbrenner, the Yankees' owner, competes in the Kentucky Derby.
Summerly captured the Oaks by hustling to the lead and then repelling Sis City's final-turn challenge. Ridden by Jerry Bailey, Summerly won by two lengths, paid $11.20 and completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1 minute, 50.23 seconds. The Nick Zito-trained In the Gold finished second, and long shot Gallant Secret rallied for third.
Summerly's victory was especially gratifying to trainer Steve Asmussen, who lost Sis City in a claiming race for $50,000. "It couldn't feel any better," Asmussen said.
Unveiling its new facility remodeled for $121 million, Churchill Downs set a record attendance for Oaks day of 111,243.
In other stakes at Churchill, Shadow Cast won the $339,300 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap; Mighty Beau claimed the $113,500 Aegon Turf Sprint; Limehouse scored in the $112,900 Alysheba Stakes; Sweet Talker captured the $112,400 Edgewood Stakes; and Rey de CafM-i won the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf.
Fresher the better?
Greeley's Galaxy is the first supplemental entry in the Kentucky Derby. His owner, B. Wayne Hughes, had to pay $200,000 to make his colt eligible because he had failed to pay the nomination fee. Hughes also owns a second Derby entrant, Don't Get Mad.
Don't Get Mad raced one week ago, winning the Derby Trial. That's almost unheard of anymore with trainers racing their good horses less and less.
They do that because it works, Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel says; trainers have learned that in this day and age, fresher horses run better. The one exception may be the Kentucky Derby, he says.
"I think it doesn't necessarily work in the Derby because they're going the mile and a quarter," Frankel says. "And these horses have never been a mile and a quarter, so I think having more races is a fitness thing. But I think this year that pattern's going to be broken, and a horse with two preps is going to win the race."
The pattern he refers to says that horses have far more success in the Kentucky Derby when they've raced at least three times as a 3-year-old. Horses in the Derby with only two starts at age 3 are Bellamy Road, Closing Argument, High Limit and Wilko.
Md. jockey goes for glory
Ramon Dominguez, the Maryland jockey who rides High Limit for Frankel, has begun what could become a successful partnership with Frankel. Riding Frankel horses exclusively in graded-stakes races, Dominguez has won three, placed once and showed once -- in only seven tries.
Dominguez also is one of 10 jockeys in the Derby -- half the field -- riding in his first or second Derby.
The small town of Darlington in Harford County would have a connection to a classics winner for the third time in four years if Bellamy Road wins. Bellamy Road's dam, Hurry Home Hillary, is a daughter of Deputed Testamony, winner of the 1983 Preakness and a stallion for 20 years at the Boniface family's Bonita Farm.
Bonita owned Belle's Good Cide, dam of Funny Cide, winner of the 2003 Derby and Preakness. And nearby Murmur Farm, owned by Audrey and Allen Murray, stood Our Emblem when his son War Emblem won the 2002 Derby and Preakness.
In the money
For the Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs doubled the purse this year to a guaranteed $2 million. With nomination, entry and starting fees, the purse will be $2,399,600 if 20 horses start. The winner will receive the bulk of it, $1,639,600, followed by $400,000 for second, $200,000 for third, $100,000 for fourth and $60,000 for fifth.
A trio of 3-year-olds all described at one time or another as possible Derby favorites didn't make it to the race. Maryland-bred Declan's Moon and John Servis-trained Rockport Harbor are sidelined with injuries. Filly Sweet Catomine, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, was retired. ... Lauren Stich, pedigree columnist for The Daily Racing Form, analyzed the breeding of the Derby horses and concluded that these possess the best breeding to win at 1 1/4 miles: Andromeda's Hero, Bandini, Bellamy Road, Coin Silver, Don't Get Mad, Noble Causeway and Wilko. ... Wilko attempts to become the first Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner to capture the Kentucky Derby. Since the Breeders' Cup began in 1984, 12 Juvenile winners have failed in their Derby tries.