FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Joe Kristufek/Grant LaGrange
Racing Analyst/Media Relations
Alicia Hughes provided copy – [email protected]
Bonny South Heading Due North
After Victory in Fair Grounds Oaks
1-5 favorite Finite finishes fourth
(New Orleans – March 21, 2020) – In a victory that held meaning beyond the purse and the points, Juddmonte Farms’ homebred filly Bonny South made a statement and provided an emotional salve when she rallied widest of all down the stretch to prevail in the $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) for 3-year-old fillies, the third and final local prep for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Contested at 1 1/16-miles, the Fair Grounds Oaks was worth 100-40-20-10 points to the top four finishers towards the Kentucky Oaks, which has been postponed until Sept. 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic. For trainer Brad Cox and the Juddmonte Farms team, Bonny South’s triumph resonated on a deeper level as she was the workmate of undefeated Taraz, who was euthanized following a training accident last month.
“Obviously she’s a very nice filly,” said Cox, who won three graded stakes on Saturday’s card including the $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) will Wells Bayou. “She was a workmate to an unbelievably nice filly we lost a couple of weeks ago. This filly has just stepped up immensely. Even when we were walking up and handing her to the pony, we were like wow she looks like she is bigger and stronger. She is getting better every day.”
Fair Grounds was the scene of Bonny South’s maiden victory last December and she demonstrated her affinity for the track again Saturday. Sent off at 6-1 odds on the heels of an allowance optional claiming victory at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 15, Bonny South bided her time at the back of the six-horse field in the Fair Grounds Oaks while pacesetter French Rose led through a quarter-mile in :24.30 and a half-mile in :47.91 with Stop Shoppin Tammy in second.
Much of the focus was on 1-5 race favorite Finite in the wake of her powerful victory in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2) on Feb. 15. As Stop Shoppin Tammy ranged up to challenge French Rose on the far turn, Finite looked poised to make good on her expectations when she joined the fray three wide and took over the lead in early stretch.
Bonny South was making her own run at that point under jockey Florent Geroux. Just past the sixteenth, the daughter of Munnings advanced to the outside of eventual runner-up Tempers Rising and showed another gear on her way to hitting the wire 2 ¼ lengths in front in a final time of 1:43.57 over a track rated fast.
“I ride her with a lot of confidence,” said Geroux, who also had a monster day with his win aboard Wells Bayou. “Last time out she beat a very nice filly. Today, of course, I thought about Finite, and how she has been running well. I was just hoping she would take a step down, and we would take a step up. The Oaks is usually in about 5 weeks, but we will have to wait a little longer. Hopefully she is still running in September.”
Antoinette was third, 1 ½-lengths behind Tempers Rising with Finite throwing in a disappointing effort to finish fourth.
“She looked good at the top of the stretch then just didn’t go on like she usually does,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to Steve Asmussen, trainer of Finite. “She wasn’t her usual self today but we will regroup with her and go forward.”
Out of the Tapit mare Touch The Star, Bonny South now boasts three wins from four starts with $323,350 in earnings.
Winning trainer Brad Cox – “All I know is that I don’t think she likes to be rushed early. Florent (Geroux, jockey) said she kind of went around nice and easy today. Obviously she’s a very nice filly. She was a workmate to an unbelievably nice filly we lost a couple of weeks ago. This filly has just stepped up immensely. Even when we were walking up and handing her to the pony, we were like wow she looks like she is bigger and stronger. She is getting better every day. I guess she is in the Kentucky Oaks, just have to figure out how to get to September 4th. That’s a long way off and just have to see how things play out. Very proud of her she ran a great race today. Congratulations to Juddmonte Farms. Very thankful to have her in the barn.”
Winning jockey Florent Geroux – “I ride her with a lot of confidence. Last time out she beat a very nice filly. Today, of course, I thought about Finite, and how she has been running well. I was just hoping she would take a step down, and we would take a step up. The Oaks is usually in about 5 weeks, but we will have to wait a little longer. Hopefully she is still running in September.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey of 2nd place Tempers Rising – “We had a good trip. It’s what we expected anyways, to be a little far back. When I got to the quarter pole and then I got in line with the favorite I thought I had a chance to win. She ran a big race.”
Scott Blasi, assistant to Steve Asmussen, trainer of 4th place beaten favorite Finite – “She looked good at the top of the stretch then just didn’t go on like she usually does. She wasn’t her usual self today but we will regroup with her and go forward.”
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global
Select Market: CHDN); it also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 13 off-track betting parlors throughout southeast Louisiana. The 148th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 107 th running of the Louisiana Derby – will run from November 28, 2019 through March 29, 2020. More information can be found online at www.FairGroundsRaceCourse.com.
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