FRANKLIN, KY – Bridlewood Farm’s Osare set the early pace along the inside before extending her lead in the latter stages and taking off for the gate-to-wire score in Wednesday’s $300,000 Fifth Third Insurance Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs.
Breaking sharply from the rail under Jose Ortiz at 4/1 odds, Osare kept her position while receiving early pace pressure from the 3/1 favorite Pamina to her outside through fractions of :25.36, :51.20, 1:16.45, and 1:41.25. Shaking clear in the final turn, Osare began widening the gap as Pamina fell off, then was kept to task through to the wire to win by 2 3/4 lengths in a final time of 2:15.06 for the 1 5/16-mile event over a turf course rated good.
“She was the right horse to do it,” Ortiz said of going wire to wire. “The trainer told me that she doesn’t have a big turn of foot, so you have to be close, and at the 3/8 pole, be looking for it. Don’t be waiting for the 1/4 pole to have that kick. To be on the lead there, going as easy as I was, I thought it was perfect. I saw the 3 horse (Pamina) was right next to me, and I said, ‘I’ve got to take it. Because if not, I’m going to have the favorite in front of me, and I’m going to be behind him.’ I just wanted to take it. I just took the lead and kept going from there.”
After saving ground in mid-pack for much of the race, Princess Warrior found room through which to run and was able to get past Sippin Kitten in the final yards to take second over that rival by a 1/2-length. Malibu Saint made a contending move while running down the hill and briefly held third before weakening late to finish to fourth. Rahway couldn’t sustain her early third-place running position and also weakened late, nosing out Over Thinking for fifth. Pamina kept fading all the way to seventh, just barely nosing out Lemon Princess, while Smart Shot was only a 1/2-length behind in ninth. Completing the order came Cloak of Secrecy, Dothraki Sea, and Heavenly Love.
Osare’s win was her second in four career starts, all coming in 2018 on turf, and increased her career bankroll to $229,080. The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is perhaps most famously the half-sister to Arrogate, who retired last fall as the all-time world leader in earnings at $17,422,600.
“All we wanted was to not leave her too much to do with the ground being a little tacky,” said winning trainer Jonathan Thomas. “Jose gave her a beautiful ride. It was a very positive, forward ride. I thought he got her to relax really nicely down the backside and he saved a lot of ground. It was great, the kind of ride you expect from Jose. She’s certainly a very ratable horse. She’s very smart. If she needed to be in behind, that’s fine. But I think her strength is stamina, so it’s important to let her get in a rhythm and take it to them a little bit, and if she’s good enough, she’ll get it done.”
Osare returned $9.80 to win, $5.80 to place, and $4 to show. Princess Warrior brought back $11 to place and $6.20 to show, while Sippin Kitten paid $8.40 to show.