Heading into Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds, many had one question on their minds – which 3-year-old filly would run on the front with La Crete throughout the 1 mile, 70 yards?
The answer was Fannie and Freddie in what shaped up to be a two-horse race where each competitor put the other away. But in the end, it was Stonestreet Stable’s La Crete who made the last move a winning won, earning 10 Kentucky Oaks points in the process.
She won her first outing last November at Churchill Downs in dominant front-running fashion, so with Joel Rosario back aboard, the tactics for her second start were no surprise. La Crete set the tone early, posting reasonable fractions of 24.50 and 48.79 while clear by as many as 1 1/2 lengths. Working from a loose, three- to four-wide press through the first turn, the Al Stall Jr. trained Fannie and Freddie set to business at the top of the second turn, heading the 1.10-1 favorite La Crete at the quarter-pole.
It was a duel from there. Fannie and Freddie led by a head, but with 1/2 furlong to go Joel Rosario asked for more and got a stunning surge that put the Steve Asmussen-trained filly in the winner’s circle in a final time of 1:43.93 for the 1 1/16 miles.
“(La Crete) is a special horse,” Joel Rosario said. “It's unbelievable. It looked like (Fannie and Freddie) was beating me but then she came back and we got the win. That horse moved on me and it looked like she would get the win, but then (La Crete) just got better and got confidence from her and we passed her back.”
Fannie and Freddie ran a similar race in the Untapable, where she also had the lead turning home but was passed near the wire by the undefeated North County. She earned four Kentucky Oaks points on Saturday, raising her total to 8 points.
“(Fannie and Freddie) is getting better and better every trip,” jockey Colby Hernandez said. “She's starting to get her mind in tune now. She has a very good performance. She was a nice filly who beat us and we put her away for a while and the horse came back on us.”
The Matt Shirer-trained Bernabreezy rode the rail four to five lengths back throughout, taking the second turn coupled inside of 2.10-1 second choice Sweet as Pie. With Bernabreezy’s previously demonstrated late kick, after expertly tightening around the homestretch turn, the race set up for the 5.80-1 filly to ride the rail past these two, but she never got closer than two lengths. She would settle for third, 3 1/2 lengths behind the winner, earning two Kentucky Oaks points. Candy Raid came on late while wide down the center but never threatened in finishing fourth, earning one Oaks point. The Todd Pletcher-trained Florida invader Sweet as Pie dropped back to last.
The unblemished 2: 2-0-0 La Crete earned the right to follow her half-sister Clairiere’s victorious footsteps to February’s Rachel Alexandra (G2). With $159,460 in purse money, she has a new notch under belt having now dueled and beaten a foe in the homestretch.
“She's a little more forward than Clairiere was early on,” assistant trainer Scot Blasi said. “But as far as working and training for a race they are very similar. We’re going to let (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner) Echo Zulu do her thing. This filly is going to continue to develop, a big step forward here today and we’re just very proud of her. Awesome bred filly from Stonestreet, lucky to have her.”
Echo Zulu, likely to be crowned an Eclipse Award winner in short order, has been stabled at Fair Grounds for over a month and has yet to appear on the work tab.