Déjà Vu: Shedaresthedevil Springs 15-1 Upset For Cox, Geroux In Kentucky Oaks

Nothing is quite the same in 2020, and horse racing has been no exception. Churchill Downs’ cavernous, nearly empty grandstands stood watch over Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, delayed from the first Friday in May to September by the global coronavirus pandemic.

Fans may not have been present this year, but trainer Brad Cox must have felt a strong sense of déjà vu when he saddled Staton Flurry and Qatar Racing’s Shedaresthedevil to post a 15-1 upset in the 3-year-old fillies’ classic. Just one race prior, Cox had sent out his 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner Monomoy Girl to win the Grade 1 La Troienne.

“This is why you wake up every morning to get to win races like this,” Cox said. “This filly has been really impressive coming into the race and when she breezed with Monomoy Girl a couple weeks ago, we knew how well she was training. There were some tough fillies in the Oaks this year with Swiss Skydiver and Gamine. We are so thrilled to win a race like this, again, in our backyard. This has been a phenomenal day with Monomoy Girl winning the La Troienne then winning the Oaks with Shedaresthedevil. These are the days you dream of.”

Jockey Florent Geroux rode both champion Monomoy Girl and Shedaresthedevil to victory on Friday, and booted home a total of four winners on the Kentucky Oaks card.

“She had a great trip,” said Geroux. “She broke very sharp and I was able to stalk Gamine all the way. That was the plan, but sometimes plans don’t always work out. Perfect plan today. The only question was whether or not I was going to be able to run her down. My filly ran an amazing race. It’s been an amazing day.”

Shedaresthedevil came into the Oaks with wins in three of her five starts this year, but her long odds reflected the fact that she hadn’t been successful against the division’s top contenders. Her wins came in the G3 Indiana Oaks, an allowance race, and the G3 Honeybee, while she’d been beaten 13 1/4 lengths by Kentucky Oaks rival Swiss Skydiver in Oaklawn’s G3 Fantasy Stakes back in May.

“We’ve taken the conservative route with this filly, kind of dodged the bullets,” Flurry explained. “We did that with the hope that we’d have a fresh horse for this.”

The strategy seems to have worked out, as Shedaresthedevil pulled away to win the Kentucky Oaks by 1 1/2 lengths. It was also the fastest Kentucky Oaks in history as Shedaresthedevil ran 1 1/8 miles over the fast main track in 1:48.28, besting Bird Town’s 2003 time of 1:48.64.

A total of nine 3-year-old fillies lined up for the nine-furlong contest, including the supremely talented Gamine, who’d won her last two races by a combined total of over 35 lengths. Gamine went off at odds of 3-5, while G1 Alabama winner Swiss Skydiver, who’d also earned 40 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby by facing males in the G3 Blue Grass Stakes, was the second choice at 5-2.

As expected, the speedy Gamine went straight to the lead from post position five, and Swiss Skydiver pushed through from her position on the rail to try to be second. Shedaresthedevil broke to her left, and muscled her way over to keep pace pressure on Gamine through the early stages, keeping Swiss Skydiver boxed in on the inside.

Hall of Famer John Velazquez kept a tight hold on Gamine through a first quarter in 23.39 seconds, but Geroux also had Shedaresthedevil under a good hold just a length off the leader. Swiss Skydiver and Tyler Gaffalione were at the rail in third, while Donna Veloce tried to push her way into contention between rivals in fourth.

Just after the half-mile in :47.92, Velazquez left the rail open for a few strides and Gaffalione tried to send Swiss Skydiver on through. He didn’t make the gap and Velazquez aimed Gamine back at the rail, causing Gaffalione to check and wait for the overland route along the outside.

That veteran move by Velazquez gave Geroux an opportunity with Shedaresthedevil, and he took full advantage, getting first run on Gamine around the far turn. Swiss Skydiver ended up swinging three-wide at the head of the lane, but Shedaresthedevil had already set her sights on the passing Gamine and hitting the wire first.

Shedaresthedevil dug in to put away Gamine by the three-sixteenths pole, then held of the late bid from Swiss Skydiver on her outside to win by 1 1/2 lengths. Gamine checked in third, while Speech got up to finish fourth. The remaining order of finish was: Tempers Rising, Hopeful Growth, Bayerness, Donna Veloce, and Dream Marie.

Trainer Ken McPeek wasn’t displeased with the effort from runner-up Swiss Skydiver.

“She ran super,” McPeek said. “That other filly (Shedaresthedevil) has been training extremely well. I’ve been watching her. Tyler (Gaffalione) rode her good. That’s horse racing. There’s no guarantees. She’s been training super. I actually wasn’t as worried about Gamine as I was about another filly running a bang-up race. That’s what happened.”

Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Bob Baffert had been hoping for a stronger return to two-turn racing for the super-talented Gamine.

“She hadn’t gone long and we can always second guess ourselves,” Baffert lamented. “Maybe I should have run her longer or whatever. But the winner was tough, you have to give her credit.

“(Gamine) just didn’t have it. Turning for home, she was in a good spot and she was late switching leads and she never does that. I don’t know if she just got tired or whatever. But down the backside he couldn’t have been any better, he was in the perfect spot. She just didn’t have it there.”

Shedaresthedevil (center, maroon cap) out-finishes both Swiss Skydiver (left) and Gamine (right) to win the Kentucky Oaks

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Shedaresthedevil is out of the winning Congrats mare Starship Warpspeed. Initially sold for $100,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November sale, the filly returned and did not meet her reserve when bidding stopped at $20,000 at the following year’s Keeneland September sale.

Entered in race training with Norm Casse, Shedaresthedevil won on debut and was the first winner for her freshman sire, Daredevil, in June of 2019 at Churchill Downs. Qatar Racing purchased an interest in the filly and she was sent to west coast trainer Simon Callaghan, for whom she ran third in the G2 Sorrento, fourth in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, and second in the Anoakia Stakes.

Sent back through the Keeneland November sale at the end of her juvenile season, Shedaresthedevil brought a final bid of $280,000 from Staton Flurry, and Qatar Racing stayed in for the ride. The filly was sent to trainer Brad Cox, and kicked off her sophomore year with a second-place finish to stablemate Bonny South in an allowance at Oaklawn Park. She added the pair of graded stakes wins to her resume over the course of 2020, and the Kentucky Oaks win improves her overall record to 5-2-2 from 10 starts for earnings of over $1.2 million.

“As bad as 2020’s been for everybody, this makes it a little bit better, for us,” Flurry said from the winner’s circle.

Co-owner Staton Flurry celebrates with friends after Shedaresthedevil brings home the Kentucky Oaks trophy

The post Déjà Vu: Shedaresthedevil Springs 15-1 Upset For Cox, Geroux In Kentucky Oaks appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.