Princess Of Sylamar springs a 39-1 surprise in Friday's Kentucky OaksPICTURE: Getty Images
Pletcher claims Oaks with longshot Princess
Report: USA, Friday
Churchill Downs: Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo fillies
A SHOCK result but not as far as the identity of the winning trainer was concerned as Todd Pletcher saddled 39-1 shot Princess Of Sylmar (Mike Smith) to claim America's foremost fillies' Classic.
Pletcher also saddled third-placed Unlimited Budget, who finished a head in front of stablemate Dreaming Of Julia, who lost all chance when she was pincered at the start.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' winner Beholder looked destined to collect the $1 million event when she overwhelmed the pacemaker Midnight Lucky on the far turn, opening up a gap on the field.
Beholder led into the final furlong until she was caught 100 yards out by Princess Of Sylmar, who scored by a half-length, with Unlimited Budget three lengths further back. The winner stopped the clock in a speedy 1m49.17s in front of a crowd of 113,820, the second largest in Oaks history.
"We're pleasantly surprised with her effort and her win," said Pletcher. "We didn't much like her first breeze here but her second one was much better done. She's a good filly, we knew that all along, and we took her out of her natural running style last time. This time she made that good run and got it done."
Speaking of Dreaming Of Julia, he added: "She lost it out of the gate. She got creamed coming out of there and it is hard to overcome that sort of thing. She tried hard to make it up and I thought she ran very courageously. But it was too much to ask."
Beholder's connections felt her chances were compromised when she gave trouble during the preliminaries. "She lost it in the post parade," said Garrett Gomez.
"I knew that might jeopardize her performance a little bit. After everything that happened, she still ran a tremendous race, better than to be expected after the antics she pulled in the post parade.
"She almost fell down and rolled in the post parade and lost it going to the gate. After she got up on her feet leaving the gate and settled nicely, I told to go turning for home she put the other filly away in a heartbeat. If she didn't pull those antics in the post parade, she might have had a chance to win."
Also on Friday
Churchill Downs: La Troienne Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+ f/m
Todd Pletcher was on the mark again as Authenticity (John Velazquez), workmate of Kentucky Derby contender Verrazano, got the better of On Fire Baby by a head after a duel.
Even-money fa vourite Believe You Can, winner of last year's Kentucky Oaks winner, could finish only third nearly five lengths off the scrap.
Churchill Downs: Alysheba Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, dirt, 4yo+
Last year's Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy (Pat Byrne/Rosie Napravnik) produced a top-drawer performance to score by six lengths.
Churchill Downs: American Turf (Grade 2) 1m½f, turf, 3yo+
After a ground-saving ride, Noble Tune (Chad Brown/Javier Castellano), runner-up to George Vancouver in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, was a decisive winner to take his career record to four out of five.