May 6, 2005
A short field of just seven went to post in the 131st running of the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in this Grade 1 event over 1 1/8 miles was Sis City, off her win in the Ashland at Keeneland. Also in the field was 9-2 second choice Summerly, who was fourth behind Sis City last out after winning three in a row.
When the gate opened, Jerry Bailey husted Summerly to the front, forcing Sis City into a speed duel for the entire first lap of the track. The two battled head to head, getting brisk fractions of 23.45, 47.44, and 1:11.53, while 31-1 shot Rugula and 5-1 third choice Runway Model stalked the pace immediately behind them.
Turning for home, Edgar Prado asked Sis City to make her move but Summerly still had another gear left. With a furlong to go, Sis City succumbed to the pace duel and fell out of contention, leaving Summerly to coast home to win by 2 lengths over the late-running 7-1 shot In The Gold. Gallant Secret, the longest shot on the board at 43-1, rallied from dead last early on to get up for third, 3/4 clear of the tiring Sis City in fourth. The final time was 1:50:23 over the fast main track. The win gave Jerry Bailey his third in the Oaks, and possibly his last as he is expected to retire from riding at the end of the year.
Results chart from DRF
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen said, "This is the filly we have run all season long. She was away from the gate cleanly; at Keeneland, the second jump, I knew we were in trouble because she wasn't handling the track."
Winning jockey Jerry Bailey said, "It was unexpected to be on the lead. Sis City had a post inside us and more speed so I planned to lay second. The way the break was, Summerly broke really well, and I made the determination I was going to go ahead and take the lead and see what Sis City was made of; Edgar eased back and took outside and I tried to slow it down as best I could."
Jockey Rafael Bejarano aboard second place finisher In The Gold said, "She broke good. She was saving ground, but I didn't see too much speed in the front. The number five (Summerly), she stayed in the front very comfortable. My filly, she finished strong but the other horse never stopped."
Jockey Mike Smith aboard third place finisher Gallant Secret said, "I had an excellent trip. She ran dynamite. I couldn't have asked her to do anymore than that. I was really proud of her."