Zanim Meahjohn's Fortune Pearl emerged from a scramble at the top of the stretch and drew away to capture her first stakes victory in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) at Delaware Park July 5 (VIDEO).
Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Trevor McCarthy, Fortune Pearl defeated seven other 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/16-mile test. Fortune Pearl, by Mineshaft out of the Chelsey Cat mare Chelsey's Pearl, was bred in Kentucky by her owner.
The one-two finishers in the Delaware Oaks, Fortune Pearl and favored Joint Return, raced in seventh and eighth, respectively, before launching wide bids on the far turn. Fortune Pearl moved inside of Joint Return and jockey Kendrick Carmouche, and drew away to win by two lengths over the favorite. Joint Return came on to finish a nose ahead of Aibhilin, with Lady Paradime fourth.
The final time was 1:44.69 on a fast track.
Honey's Ryan, a stakes winner at 2, set the early fractions of :23.95 for the opening quarter-mile, :47.85 for the half-mile, and 1:12.10 for six furlongs with Aibhilin not far behind. Aibhilin bid for the the lead through one mile in 1:38.18 as the field fanned out at the top of lane, but Fortune Pearl and Joint Return emerged to capture the top two spots.
In their previous starts, Fortune Pearl finished third and Joint Return fourth in the grade II Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course May 16.
Motion said he didn't give McCarthy a game plan before the race. "I left that up to Trevor," he said. "I was not really surprised she was far back early. We really did not have a game plan coming into the Oaks. She is a very straight forward filly to ride, so I really left it up to Trevor."
After her third-place finish in the Black-Eyed Susan, Motion sent her to Delaware Park to prep for the Oaks.
"We kept her at Delaware Park because we knew we were going to run in this race," Motion said. "We just felt like it was important for her to train over the track before this race."
Fortune Pearl, the second choice at 5-2, paid $7.80, $3.60, and $3 across the board. Joint Return paid $3.20 and $2.60. Aibhilin paid $5.20 to show. The $2 exacta paid $22.80 and the $2 trifecta returned $141.40.
Fortune Pearl broke her maiden in her career debut in a $32,000 maiden claiming race on the grass at Tampa Bay Downs last December. After her Florida campaign for Motion, she shipped north to win an allowance test at 1 1/16 miles on the dirt at Pimlico, and then followed up with her third in the Black-Eyed Susan.