Protonico wins Alysheba photo in Race 8 on 2015 Kentucky Oaks program
Prontonico gutted out a photo-finish victory as the 7-5 favorite in Friday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Alysheba, The Alysheba, a 1 1/16-mile test for older horses, was the 8TH race on the 2015 Kentucky Oaks program.
Conceding the early lead to Den’s Legacy, Protonico sat second most of the way under John Velazquez, took command in the stretch and prevailed in a stretch-long duel with longshot Noble Bird to register his second consecutive graded stakes win.
Owned by Sumaya U S Stables and trained by Todd Pletcher, Protonico paid $4.80 after completing the trip in 1:42 1/5.
Neck ‘n Neck finished third, and farther up the track was the highly-regarded Honor Code, who dropped well off the pace and ran the dullest race of his career. The multiple Grade 2 winner was a leading 2014 classic prospect until forced to the sidelines with an injury.
Winner last month of the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland, Protonico scored Grade 3 wins last year in the Smarty Jones at Parx Racing and the Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct. He was also a close second in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill in November.
Now possessing a record of 11-6-1-1, with earnings of more than $800,000, Protonico might return for next month’s Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill.