It is Todd Pletcher day at Churchill Downs Friday. When he sent out Oonagh Maccool to an easy win in the $271,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares, the trainer was notching his fourth winner of the day...and that's from four races in which he had runners.
Pletcher had previously won the Edgewood with Magnificent Song, an allowance race with Venetian Sunset, and a maiden event with first-time starter Alotofappeal.
Oonagh Maccool, capturing her third straight victory, was the easiest kind of winner, taking the lead at the head of the lane and cruising home impressively by 3 1/4 lengths under Rafael Bejarano. And who trained second-place finisher in the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap La Reason but Pletcher?
"She's a nice filly (Oonagh Maccool) and both fillies ran really well," Pletcher said. "I'm very proud of both of them."
Pletcher said he'd next run Oonagh Maccool in Churchill's $300,000 Fleur de Lis (gr. II) at June 17.
"She acts like she's something special, she really does," Pletcher added. "She's been very, very good since we got her on the dirt."
Capeside Lady took the lead in the Louisville Breeders' Cup while Bejarano settled Oonagh Maccool back into third and then fourth. Oonagh Maccool actually broke a bit slowly from her rail post after hopping at the break but easily moved into contention.
As the field turned for home after slow fractions of :24.25 and :47.88, Bejarano moved on the outside and took complete control. They ran the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:42.96.
"She broke a little poorly again, stumbled out of the gate," Bejarano said of the winner. "I just tried to stay behind the speed and she was comfortable there. After a half mile she was coming on strong and at the quarter pole I asked her to run."
The 4-year-old Oonagh Maccool was bred in Ireland by her owner, Charles Wacker III. She is by Giant's Causeway
out of the Chief Singer mare Alidiva. The filly has now won five of her six lifetime starts and earned $307,148.
The winner, who was coming off a 2 1/2-length romp in Gulfstream Park's Rampart Handicap (gr. II) March 25, paid $5.20, $3.60, and $2.80. Her stablemate, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $6.80 and $4.40 while Gallant Secret and Julien Leparoux got third and paid $5.80.
In the Gold finished fourth, followed by Capseide Lady, Private Gift, Sweet Symphony and Leave Me Alone.
Sweet Symphony, the second choice at odds of 3-1, was never involved after a wide trip.
"She didn't run at all today," Cornelio Velasquez said. "She broke good and I put her in a good spot. Maybe she didn't like the track, she's never run here before. She just didn't want to go."