After finishing three-quarters of a length behind Ready to Confess in a Churchill Downs allowance race for trainer Bob Baffert May 28, the 3-year-old Smart Strike filly, now with trainer Wayne Catalano for the second time in her career, found herself engaged in a stretch battle again with her rival but prevailed Thursday night.
Under the guidance of jockey Florent Geroux, Family Tree broke well from the outside post, settled into a stalking position in third, moved by the frontrunners in the final turn, and held off a late challenge from Ready to Confess to win by two lengths.
Favored Thrilled, off at 8-5, engaged with Marquee Miss in a speed duel through fractions of :23.29, :46.32, and 1:10.90, but the Todd Pletcher trainee tired late and finished ninth in the 10-filly field.
The winner completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.25 and paid $8, $4.80, and $4 across the board. Ready to Confess ($7.60 and $5.20) and third-place finisher Put Da Blame On Me ($10) made simultaneous closing moves in the final turn, but could never get past Family Tree in the stretch.
For All the Grands closed from last for fourth, followed by Marquee Miss, Just Wicked, Alotta Skirt, Bonita Cat, Thrilled, and Kiss N Scat, to complete the order of finish. Emmzy, who won a Santa Anita Park allowance race Thursday, was scratched from the Oaks.
Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm and Sam-Son Farm, out of the Giant's Causeway mare Giant Mover, Family Tree now has a 3-2-2 record from eight starts with $309,126 in earnings.
Family Tree was purchased by Ben Glass for $225,000 from the Lane's End consignment to the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale.