Photo: Hodges Photography
Towards Saturday’s $150,000 silver bullet day at Fair Grounds, many had one question in their minds: Which 3-year-old filly would run with La Crete in front for the 1 mile, 70 yards?
The answer was Fannie and Freddie in what formed as a two-horse race with each entrant tucking the other away. But in the end it was Stonestreet Stable Crete who made the last move a winning one won and earned 10 Kentucky Oaks points in the process.
She won her first outing at Churchill Downs last November in dominant front-running fashion, so with Joel Rosario back on board, the tactics for her second start were no surprise. La Crete set the tone early on, posting reasonable fractions of 24.50 and 48.79, while clearing a whopping 1 1/2 lengths. The by Al Stall Jr. Trained Fannie and Freddie worked from a loose, three-to-four wide press through the first turn and got going at the start of turn two, heading for the 1.10-1 favorite La Crete at the quarter pole.
From there it was a duel. Fannie and Freddie led through a lead, but with half a furlong to go Joel Rosario asked for more and got a stunning wave that brought the Steve Asmussen trained filly into the winner’s circle in a final time of 1:43.93 for the 1 1 / 16 miles.
“(La Crete) is a special horse,” said Joel Rosario. “It’s unbelievable. It looked like (Fannie and Freddie) beat me, but then she came back and we won. That horse moved me and it looked like she was going to take the win, but then (La Crete) it became just better and got the trust from her and we gave her back.”
Fannie and Freddie ran a similar race in the Untapable where she also led the way home but was passed near the wire by the undefeated North County. She earned four Kentucky Oaks points on Saturday, bringing her total to 8 points.
“(Fannie and Freddie) gets better and better every trip,” said jockey Colby Hernandez. “She’s starting to align her mind now. She has a very good performance. She was a nice filly that hit us and we put her away for a while and the horse came back on us. ”
The Matt Shirer-trained Bernabreezy backed the entire rail four to five lengths and took the second turn in the 2.10-1 second choice Sweet as Pie. With Bernabreezy’s previously-demonstrated late kick, after expertly tightening around the homestretch corner, the race set up for the 5.80-1 filly to drive past these two, but she never got closer than two lengths. She would settle for third, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner, and earn two Kentucky Oaks points. Candy Raid came in late in the middle, but never threatened to finish fourth, earning one Oaks point. Todd Pletcher-trained Florida invader Sweet as Pie fell back to last place.
The immaculate 2:2-0-0 La Crete earned the right to follow in the victorious footsteps of her half-sister Clairiere to February’s Rachel Alexandra (G2). With $159,460 in scholarship money, she’s upped the ante after battling and defeating an enemy in the home stretch.
“She’s a little more forward than Clairiere was in the beginning,” said assistant coach Scot Blasi. “But when it comes to working and training for a race, they are very similar. We’re going to let (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner) Echo Zulu do its thing. This filly will continue to develop, a big step forward here today and we are just very proud of her. Great bred filly by Stonestreet, happy with her.”
Echo Zulu, likely to be crowned the winner of the Eclipse Award in the near future, has been at Fair Grounds for over a month and has yet to hit the work tab.