FRANKLIN, KY – Godolphin homebred Micheline overtook the heavily-favored Harvey’s Lil Goil in the final stages to win a record-setting edition of Thursday’s $500,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs.
Michaeline broke from post 8 under Joel Rosario at 10/1 odds and sat toward the rear in eighth, leaving only three rivals behind her.
Lucky Polly, Stand Tall, and the even-money bettors’ choice Harvey’s Lil Goil dueled through fractions of :25.07, :49.34, 1:13.56, and 1:37.32 for the opening mile.
Given the cue heading into the long stretch run, Micheline fanned out five-wide and passed her rivals in the lane before driving past an all-out Harvey’s Lil Goil in the final jumps to get across first by a neck.
The Mike Stidham trainee completed the 1 5/16-mile firm turf event in a record-setting time of 2:06.41.
“My filly is a big horse,” Rosario said. “I thought she’d like the wide-open (course). That horse kind of got away from me. I thought I was never going to catch her, but she kept trying. I was riding and she kept trying. Finally, the last part of it, I got close to the horse and she got up and ran really well.”
Harvey’s Lil Goil was 1 length clear of Luck Money, with the same gap back to Stunning Sky in fourth.
Stand Tall, Ask Bailey, How Ironic, Sursum Corda, Carpe Vinum, Lucky Polly, and Embossed completed the order of finish.
Blame Debbie, Envoutante, Island Hideaway, and Redemption Day were scratched.
Micheline’s win was her third at the stakes level and improved her overall record to 11-4-1-1. The 3-year-old Bernardini filly has now earned $445,978.
“It’s been a journey with her, and it’s been well worth it,” Stidham said. “When she came to us, we were told that you could not put her in a barn because she wouldn’t just walk the stall, she’d run the stall. We were told that she had to be turned out after she trained. She couldn’t be put in the barn, so we had to figure out a way to facilitate her. We had an outdoor stall built for her at Fair Hill (training center). She had a roof over her, but it was an outdoor stall. She’d have a pony next to her to keep her company. Now, any time we’ve taken her anywhere, we have a portable stall with a canvas roof over it and she lives outside in a portable stall. She’s okay in the van, but you can’t put her inside a barn.”
Micheline returned $22 to win, $7 to place, and $5.40 to show. Harvey’s Lil Goil brought back $3.60 to place and $3 to show, while Luck Money paid $10.80 to show.