(Edited Churchill Downs press release)
Lemons Forever, the longshot winner of this year's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), was scheduled to be sold following her run in the Nov. 4 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). But she never left her stall in the Churchill Downs barn of trainer and co-owner Dallas Stewart.
The 3-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid
was entered in the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, but a strong stretch rally and a fifth-place finish behind Round Pond in the Distaff convinced Stewart and his partners, Willis Horton and Horton Stable, to keep the chestnut filly in Stewart's care.
"She ran such a good race in the Distaff," Stewart said. "She had a little bit of trouble. She got way far back as she had to take up to avoid Pine Island when she fell, but we only got beat a length for second. She was flying."
Stewart said Lemons Forever would take it easy the rest of the year. She should return to serious training and racing over the winter at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans as the Oaks winner embarks on her 4-year-old campaign.
Lemons Forever ended the year with a career record of 3-1-2 in 11 races and earnings of $602,845. This year's campaign includes a string of five consecutive losses following her victory in the Oaks, but Stewart believes Lemons Forever has more good days ahead. And she won the Oaks, the race that counted most.
"They can't ever take that race away from her," Stewart said.