Odds-on choice Grace Hall took command leaving the final turn and drew out to a dominating 5 3/4-length win over four opponents in the $205,600 Indiana Oaks (gr. II). Oct. 6 at Hoosier Park (VIDEO).
Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard Grace Hall for her fourth graded stakes win. Grace Hall rebounded from a fifth-place finish, 31 lengths behind the runaway winner Questing, in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 18.
Tony Dutrow trains the 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker out of the Irish mare Season's Greetings (by Ezzoud), who was group-placed three times in France. Grace Hall races for Mike Caruso's Bethlehem Stables in partnership with Mike Dubb and Stuart Grant.
The Indiana Oaks, contested over a track upgraded to good from muddy, had four scratches. Grace Hall completed the 1 1/16-mile test in 1:41.85.
Grace Hall is a likely candidate for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2, though she has not yet faced older rivals.
Second choice Eden's Moon took the lead from Grace Hall shortly after the start and set the pace, albeit under pressure all the way from the favorite. Eden's Moon led by a head through early splits of :23.67 and :47.31 before Grace Hall took a narrow edge after six furlongs in 1:11.62.
Grace Hall began to draw away when asked for more by Hernandez, who was replacing Ramon Dominguez, coming out of the turn. She led by four at mid-stretch and was ridden out.
Wine Princess, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, stalked in third into the stretch and rallied to get the runner-up spot by 1 1/4 lengths over Eden's Moon and Rafael Bejarano. Holiday Soiree was fourth, and Uptown Bertie, racing as part of a Steve Margolis-trained entry with Wine Princess, completed the order of finish.
Grace Hall earned her third grade II victory of the year, including the Delaware Oaks July 14. The bay filly, bred in Kentucky by Darley, won the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga as a 2-year-old prior to finishing second in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). With the Indiana Oaks victory, her career record improved to 6-2-1 in 10 races with earnings of $1,281,360.
Carrying 121 pounds, the 9-10 pick paid $3.80 and $2.20. Wine Princess returned $2.60 and completed an $8.20 exacta. There was no show wagering.
Scratched were Amie's Dini, Chernomorochka, Confession, and Grace for Grace.