Trainer Mike Maker and jockey Florent Geroux swept the stakes events Sept. 11 at Kentucky Downs and did so as impressively as seemingly imaginable.
Out Of This World Racing's Try Your Luck kicked off the stakes double with a 7 1/2-length victory in the $200,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks, then stablemate Oscar Nominated, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, drew off to win the $350,000 Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby by 6 1/4 lengths.
Both were 3-1 and the second choice in large fields, but pulled away as if they were odds-on under Geroux, who won five races on the nine-race card.
Oscar Nominated, a son of Kitten's Joy who last visited the winner's circle in April, when he took the Spiral Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park, bobbled at the start of the 1 5/16-mile Derby, raced in sixth early as Little Scotty set the pace through a half-mile in :50.96 and six furlongs in 1:14.96, moved up four wide in the final turn to take command turning for home, and left the rest of the field in his wake.
"Super. very impressive," Maker said of Oscar Nominated's win. "He’s been facing the best. I thought the competition was a little lighter than he's been up against. (I'm) proud of his performance."
Try Your Luck, a Lookin At Lucky filly who crossed the wire first but was disqualified to third last time out Aug. 13 in the Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) at Arlington International Racecourse, was up closer to the pace than her stablemate but employed essentially the same tactics. She raced two to three lengths off pacesetter Celestial Insight early on, opened up a clear lead at the top of the stretch, and cruised to a clear victory. Favored Taralena came in second, a half-length ahead of Leafy Shade.
"Both of them were forwardly placed and had a nice stalking trip from the outside," Geroux said. "Both of the horses just really liked the track and ran away. Very similar."
It was the first stakes win for Try Your Luck, who pushed her earnings to $225,174. Oscar Nominated brought home his third stakes score and now has $628,095 in purses.