Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, April 4, 2015) – Florida shipper Include Betty overcame her 11 post and a rider’s objection to secure a spot in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks May 1 with her victory in Saturday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3). Include Betty not only received the $240,000 winner’s share of the purse, but also 100 points based on Churchill Downs’ criteria for making the Oaks field and is now ranked 6th on the leaderboard.
Include Betty remained in last place early as Sarah Sis led through an opening quarter mile in :23 3/5 before Super Saks took over for a half mile in :47 4/5. The winner began to pick up momentum down the backstretch, came wide into stretch and brushed several times with Achiever’s Legacy through the lane before holding on to win by a neck over the fast closing Oceanwave, who passed eventual third-place finisher Achiever’s Legacy late. The winner completed the 1 1/16 mile race in 1:44 over a fast track.
“This is an amazing little filly,” said winning rider Rosemary Homeister, Jr, the filly’s regular rider. “I was in the 11 hole, but I wasn’t all that concerned because she is a closer. I had so much horse down the backstretch, which is unusual for her because she likes to drop way out. I decide to go wide into the stretch and Joe (Rocco Jr.) and I did start going at it around the turn. I was trying to keep him in because I knew he was on one of the horses (Achiever’s Legacy) to beat. Down the late it was just race riding. I just had so much horse. She really dug in to win the race.”
Jockey Joe Rocco Jr., aboard Achiever’s Legacy, lodged an objection after the race, but it was not allowed by the Oaklawn stewards.
“There was contact initiated by the 11 (Include Betty), but we believed it did not warrant disqualification because neither rider had to steady, check or stop riding,” said Arkansas State Steward Stan Bowker.
In addition to Included Betty’s 100 points for winning, Oceanwave earned 40 for second, Achiever’s Legacy earned 20 and Pangburn got 10 for fourth. Honeybee Stakes winner Sarah Sis finished fifth and was followed by Super Saks, 2-1 favorite Feathered, Purr, Sweet Opportunity, Lady Tapit and Harlans Belle.
The winner, an Include filly out of Betty’s Solutions, has now won three of seven career starts and has earned $303,030 for owners Brereton C. Jones and Timothy Thornton and trainer Tom Proctor. She returned $39.60, $14.00 and $8.80 as and 18-1 outsider.
Oaklawn will be dark Sunday in observance of the Easter holiday. Live racing resumes Wednesday, April 8 for the final four days of the 2015 live meet. Racing culminates next Saturday, April 11 with the $1 million Arkansas Derby.