LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 3 (UPI) -- Friday's $500,000 Kentucky Oaks shaped up as a showdown between the best 3-year-old filly in the east, Take Charge Lady, and the best of the west, You.
That was before Brazil was heard from. Take Charge Lady took charge early, as expected, and led the field into the top of the stretch. But You never ran her race.
Instead, it was longshot Farda Amiga who put in a bid on the outside as the field turned for home. With Chris McCarron up, the filly got the jump on Habibti, then went by Take Charge Lady to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Take Charge Lady held on for second and Habibti was third. Habibti's rider, Victor Espinoza, filed an objection, claiming Farda Amiga shut him off at the top of the stretch. The claim was not allowed.
"I knew I had a very good filly in front of me that I was going to have to overhaul," said McCarron. "But I knew I had the benefit of the long stretch here at Churchill Downs. She just wore that filly down."
McCarron said You, racing on the inside, came out and force a bit of a traffic jam. But he said there was no contact and Farda Amiga was no more responsible than any other filly. Several horses, including Imperial Gesture and Ile de France, were involved in a bumping match at the start of the race. Imperial Gesture was hit from both sides, pinched back and never entered contention afterward.
Farda Amiga paid $42, $11.20 and $5.40; Take Charge Lady $3.80 and $3; Habibti $3.80. The $2 exacta returned $168.40.
Farda Amiga is owned by a partnership based in Brazil and trained by Paulo H. Lobo, 33, who came to the United States from Brazil less than a year and a half ago. Lobo's father, Selmar Lobo, "is one of the most famous trainers in Brazil," he said earlier in the week.
"I thank God. Only God put Farda Amiga in my hands," Lobo said after the race.
Asked what the victory will mean to racing in Brazil, Lobo said, "I have 36 messages already on my cell phone. They showed list race live on Brazil on ESPN."
Farda Amiga, a daughter of Broad Brush, won her first start at Del Mar last September. Her only other previous win was in an optional claiming race at Santa Anita on Feb. 9. She then switched from the grass to the main track for her last start, finishing a close fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks on March 9.