Proud Spell Wins Kentucky Oaks

AP Sports Writer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Larry Jones is halfway to history.
Proud Spell drew away down the stretch to win the $500,000
Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs, giving her homespun
trainer a shot at pulling off an unprecedented Oaks-Kentucky Derby
The 3-year-old filly stalked pacesetter Bsharpsonata around the
far turn, then simply ran away from the 10-horse field to win by 5
lengths and set the bar pretty high for stablemate Eight Belles,
who will take on the boys Saturday in the Derby.
No trainer has won the Oaks and the Derby in the same year since
1952, and none have done it with two fillies. But Jones seems to
have a deft touch with the girls, and has spent the last year
turning a filly nobody wanted as a yearling into one of the top
thoroughbreds - male or female - in the country.
Proud Spell went off as the favorite and paid $8.80, $4.80 and
$3.20. Little Belle returned $6.40 and $4, and Pure Clan paid $3.80
to show.
An afternoon downpour turned the track sloppy, though Proud
Spell seemed right at home in the mud. After Bsharpsonata bolted to
the lead, jockey Gabriel Saez simply kept Proud Spell under wraps
over Bsharpsonata's right shoulder, then poured it on to post her
fifth career victory, running 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.01.
"I was trying to do the best job I can and put her in a perfect
spot and when I asked her to make a move, the filly responded
really good," Saez said.
There was a possibility earlier in the week that Jones would
enter both fillies in the Oaks. Jones decided to put Eight Belles
in the Derby because he felt she could hang with the boys and that
he didn't need two horses in the Oaks to win the filly version of
the Derby.
"This time we felt like one would do, we're still in line for
tomorrow," Jones said. "You can't get it done if you don't win
the first half."
Elusive Lady was scratched by trainer John Kimmel two hours
before the race due to the deteriorating conditions at the track.
Earlier Friday 4-year-old colt Chelokee broke his right front leg
during The Alysheba and was taken to Lexington for treatment.
Chelokee is trained by Barbaro trainer Michael Matz, and the colt
actually won the Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico last spring.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)