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Vuitton Captures the $100,000 Carousel Stakes

Vuitton came from well off the pace to edge favored Beat the Blues at the wire and capture the $100,000 Carousel Stakes.
HOT SPRINGS, AR - Vuitton came from well off the pace to edge favored Beat the Blues at the wire and capture the $100,000 Carousel Stakes while giving Steve Asmussen his third of four wins on the card and leading jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. his fourth of five wins at Oaklawn on Thursday. Asmussen, who has been in a tight battle with Mac Robertson for the leading trainer title assumed the lead by three wins. Asmussen heads into the final two days of the meet with 31 wins to Robertson’s 28.

After being outrun early, Vuitton was seven-wide coming out of the far turn of the six furlong test for fillies and mare four and older and then powered through the lane to prevail by a nose in 1:11.03 on a fast track. Beat the Blues, the 8-5 favorite in the field of eight, finished another nose in front of Lady Diva Ga Ga, who also did her best running in the late going to make it a three-horse photo finish

“My horse doesn’t like running inside and when she saw the clear, she came running. She finished the race just beautifully,” said the 19-year-old Santana, who won a quintet of races on a single card at Oaklawn for the first time. The total was the most victories in any single day of his career.

Carrying 117 pounds and dispatched at 5-1, Vuitton paid $12.00, $5.20, and $3.40.

The victory was the first in a stakes race and the third straight at Oaklawn for Vuitton. The Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike out of the Farma Way mare Juliet’s Way improved her record to 13-5-6-1 and increased her bankroll to $254,024 for owners Gillian Campbell, Ralph and Shelly Stayer and Andrew Pajak.

“She’s run big on this racetrack. As soon as we got her back to sprinting, she’s excelled. I’m excited about this weekend. We’ve got a lot of horses to run,” said Darren Fleming, Asmussen’s assistant, in reference to the 17 horses the barn will send out on Arkansas Derby Day.

Bill Martin, the owner of Beat the Blues, said, “That was a tough beat. She ran great. We will probably take her to Churchill now and try her in the Winning Colors Stakes (G3) again.”

The Racing Festival of the South continues on Friday with 11 races highlighted by the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) and on Saturday with 12 races including the $250,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3), the $500,000 Oaklawn Handicap (G2) and the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1). Post time for Friday is 1:30 p.m. and the first race on Saturday will be at 12 noon.

 

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