James M. Miller’s Daisy Devine earned a trip to Louisville with an impressive half-length win over Dede McGehee’s
St. John’s River in
Saturday’s Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks, the richest prep race for
3-year-old fillies aspiring to the prestigious May 6 Kentucky Oaks at
Four of the last six winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks:
Rachel Alexandra in 2009, Proud Spell in 2008,
Summerly in 2005 and Ashado in 2004 (the race was not run the season following Hurricane Katrina).
Daisy Devine enjoyed a trouble-free trip with
James Graham in the irons, racing in the two-path about one length behind pacesetter
Grandacious, who set
moderate fractions of 24.21, 48.50 and 1:13.14. Daisy Devine took
command in upper stretch and then inched away, finishing the 1 1/16
miles in 1:44.25.
“She’d trained super going into the race,” said winning conditioner
Andrew McKeever. “We
skipped the (Feb. 19 Grade III Rachel Alexandra) and trained her into
the race and that did her a lot of good. That was a perfect trip today.”
River closed from the back of the field to get second, as did the third-place finisher, Landaluce Educe’s Niji’s Grand Girl.
The order of finish was completed by
Tapit Dancer, Tourmaline,
Switching Gears and Little Miss Holly.
The winner paid $11, $5.40 and $3.80, while
River paid $8.60 and $5.20 and Niji’s Grand Girl returned $3.80.
The victory was Daisy Devine’s first in a stakes race and the $300,000 winner’s share boosted her career earnings to $359,788.