Ridden by Larry Melancon, Forest Shadows charged through the stretch to win the $113,500 Edgewood Stakes, the first stake on Friday's Kentucky Oaks card at Churchill Downs. The 3-year-old Woodman filly defeated Unbridled Femme and Ebony Breeze as she stopped the timer in 1:35.35 for the one mile on turf.
Keiai Sakura jumped out to an early lead, stretching it out to five or six lengths over Ebony Breeze down the backside. The running positions remained unchanged as they went in fractions of :23.28, :46.83, 1:11.66, and 1:23.25.
Forest Shadows was fifth in the stretch before circling the field six wide under brisk urging from Melancon. The chestnut filly reached the wire a neck in front of stubborn Unbridled Femme, ridden by Kent Desormeaux. Ebony Breeze, favored at 9-5 with Mark Guidry riding in the field of six, was another neck back.
"She is a grinder," said Melancon. "I found that out about her the last time I rode her (March 30 at the Fair Grounds). You have to wait with her. Today it was just a question of if I could catch the speed. I had a good trip. I just waited and made sure I had room. The speed really hung on and I didn't get there until the last 20 or 30 yards."
There were four scratches from the original field of 10.
The winner, trained by Albert Stall Jr. for the Phillips Racing Partnership of John Phillips, paid $9.80, $5.60, $3.20. Unbridled Femme retruned $7.60 and $3.40, with Ebony Breeze worth $2.40.
"She did not run as 2-year-old because she was a small filly," Stall said. "She is a real trier. I am 100 percent sure the farther they go, the better. "
Bred in Kentucky by Phillips and Pam Gartin, Forest Shadows has won three of four starts, and is undefeated in three starts on grass. She earned $70,370 for the victory to increase her career bankroll to $103,970.