Abel Tasman captures Kentucky Oaks 143

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Jen Caldwell

May 5th, 2017

China Horse Club and breeder Clearsky Farms’ Abel Tasman put in a last-to-first run on Friday to triumph in the 143rd edition of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Mike Smith was in the saddle as Abel Tasman found herself running in last after the gates opened on the 1 1/8-mile contest. Her rival Paradise Woods, who beat Abel Tasman by 11 lengths in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) last out, led the way up front with Miss Sky Warrior keeping in close attendance on the outside.

Farrell tracked just behind those two and their positions didn’t really change until nearing the final turn. That’s when Farrell began backing up and Miss Sky Warrior drew even with Paradise Woods. Miss Sky Warrior wrested control of the race away from Paradise Woods upon hitting the stretch, but neither could withstand the rest of the field.

In upper stretch it was anyone’s race to take, but Abel Tasman quickly settled the issue. The Quality Road filly drew off to stop the clock in 1:51.62 and returned $20.40 at 9-1.

Daddys Lil Darling came running fast to take second over Lockdown, who finished in front of Vexatious in fourth. Salty came next and was followed under the wire by Sailor’s Valentine, Tequilita, Miss Sky Warrior, Ever So Clever, Mopotism, 6-5 favorite Paradise Woods, Jordan’s Henny, Wicked Lick and Farrell.