On the same track where his grandfather, J.P. Mayberry, saddled Judge Himes, winner of the 1903 Kentucky Derby, trainer Brian Mayberry won the $283,600 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs with Sardula on Friday, beating undefeated Lakeway by a head in a long stretch battle before 80,321.
Eddie Delahoussaye, using his whip only once, at the top of the stretch, gave Sardula a perfect ride, nursing her to the wire despite the all-out pursuit by Lakeway and Kent Desormeaux, who was urging his filly from the sixteenth pole home.
“I said to myself that I had a horse under me that’s got a lot of class, so I just kept my cool,” Delahoussaye said. “She was getting a little tired at the end. From the eighth pole on, I just hand rode her. She’s got a lot of guts.”
Mayberry, 56, formed his own stable in 1966. His training job with Sardula was extraordinary. He got her ready to run Friday’s 1 1/8 miles after a 6 1/2-furlong victory at Santa Anita on April 9.
On a track listed as good, Sardula was fifth in the seven-horse field after half a mile. Lakeway, who had won four in a row, settled into third behind the leaders, Flying In The Lane and Slide Show, and made her move from the outside on the far turn. Sardula made up her ground on the inside, but well off the fence.
Lakeway, the 7-10 favorite, finished two lengths ahead of Dianes Halo. The rest of the field, in order of finish: Slew Kitty Slew, Slide Show, Flying In The Lane and Fair Kris. Sardula, who races for Jerry and Ann Moss of Los Angeles, earned $184,340 and paid $5 to win.
Another odds-on favorite, Lure, went down to defeat Friday, finishing second, 4 1/2 lengths behind Paradise Creek, in the $233,950 Early Times Turf Classic, run on a turf course listed as good.
Paradise Creek, ridden by Pat Day and trained by Bill Mott, took the lead when the field straightened out for home. Lure, who had been second or third most of the way, failed to rally. Lure had won the Early Times a year ago.
Paradise Creek won for the fourth consecutive time this year, running 1 1/8 miles in 1:48 1/5 and paying $8.60. Lure finished 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Yukon Robbery.