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Rigoletta Stuns Tell A Kelly in Oak Leaf

Running beyond seven furlongs for the first time, Rigoletta, a 32-1 shot, turned the tables on favored Tell a Kelly to win the $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes Sunday at Oak Tree/Hollywood Park.


Third, beaten 6 ¾ lengths by Tell a Kelly in the Darley Debutante Sept. 4 at Del Mar, Rigoletta became the highest priced winner in Oak Leaf history.

The 2-year-old Florida bred daughter of Concerto and the Montbrook mare Almost Aprom Queen returned $67.40, $11.40 and $4.60 for owner Thor-Bred Stable LLC.


Cut Class had held the record, paying $63.60 when she won as a part of an entry in 1974.


Trained by Dan Hendricks, who was earning his first victory in the Grade 1, Rigoletta rallied directly outside of Tell a Kelly and jockey David Flores did some race riding, keeping the 1-2 choice in some tight quarters during the stretch run.


At the finish, Rigoletta prevailed by a half-length. The final time for the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track was 1:44.03.


“I just tried to put her in a good position,’’ said Flores after his fourth Oak Leaf victory, one fewer than leader Chris McCarron. “She was in the bridle the whole way.


“Tell a Kelly bumped her and it got her into the race more…she got aggressive and fought back. I thought I was going to get beat, but that (bump) seemed to make her madder.


“Dan told me to ride with confidence and I think had her in the perfect spot. I’m very proud of her.’’


Hendricks said he would like to run Rigoletta, who has won two of four and earned $210,820, to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs. She earned a spot in the field as the Oak Leaf was one of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In’’ races.


Tell a Kelly, who had a two race win streak snapped, is also being pointed to the Juvenile Fillies, according to trainer John Sadler. She paid $2.60 and $2.10. The show price on Indian Gracey was $4.


“The reason I tried to go between horses is that she wasn’t going to go by the one in front (Indian Gracey) and I didn’t think I had enough horse to go around,’’ said Alonso Quinonez, Tell a Kelly’s rider. “She was working real well and everything set up perfectly for her, but we really didn’t have any excuses.’’

 

 

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