William and Graydon Patterson’s Juanita, claimed for $25,000 in March, made her first stakes victory count when she led the whole way to take the $200,000 Indiana Oaks (gr. II) at Hoosier Park Racing & Casino Oct. 1 (VIDEO) .
Juanita, one of five 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks, was sent to the front by jockey Julien Leparoux from the start, maintained an open lead in hand, and drew away in the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths. Withgreatpleasure rallied from last to finish second, with Daisy Devine third.
Fractions on a fast track were :24.40 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.80 for the half-mile, and 1:13.40 for six furlongs. Juanita, who paid $12.60 to win as the third choice, finished up in 1:45.20.
Heavily favored A Z Warrior, in from California for her third start of the year, was under urging on the far turn and never threatened, finishing fourth. The filly won the grade I Frizette Stakes as a 2-year-old.
Leparoux also won the $500,000 Indiana Derby (gr. II) for 3-year-olds a race later with Stonestreet Stables’ Wilburn .
Trainer Mike Maker claimed Juniata for the Pattersons at Gulfstream Park. She then won a starter allowance event at Churchill Downs and an allowance race on the grass at Indiana Downs before finishing fourth in the Dauphin Miss Stakes on soft turf at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in late July.
Maker then trained the filly up to Oaks with steady works at the Churchill Downs Training Center. Juanita, by Mineshaft out of the Smart Strike mare Wishful Splendor, now has five wins in 11 career starts.
Juanita was bred in Kentucky by Padua Stables.