Louisville, Ky. -- For the first time in 138 runnings of the Kentucky Oaks, a female jockey wore the lilies in the winner's circle as Believe You Can gave Rosie Napravnik her first ever Grade 1 victory. Believe You Can ($29.60, $11.80, $6.40) held off Broadway's Alibi by 3/4-length to win the $1 million Oaks after a weather delay of over 45 minutes before the American Turf Stakes.
Believe You Can ran the 1 1/8-miles in 1:49.50. The Oaks was the second for owner and former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones and trainer Larry Jones, who collaborated to win the 2008 Run for the Lilies with Proud Spell.
The win was redemption for Napravnik, who lost her Kentucky Derby mount earlier in the week, when Mark Valeski's connections withdrew him from the Derby. "It's unbelievable. I'm just so happy and grateful to be here. Last year was kind of a tease (finishing a fast-closing second on St. John's River), I was so close but not there, and this year I was determined to be the one in the winner's circle and I had the right horse to do it," rejoiced Napravnik.
The track was mostly unaffected by a storm that passed through the Louisville area around 5 p.m. Track officials cleared the paddock and evacuated the infield crowd into the tunnels below the historic track. The storm eventually passed south of the city and racing resumed.
A crowd of 112,552, mostly covered in pink, witnessed the historic result as Believe You Can added $564,200 to her earnings and won her sixth race in nine starts.
Check back here tomorrow as we'll be live blogging the Kentucky Derby card. Post time for the Kentucky Derby is 6:24 p.m. ET.
Photo credit: Keith McCalmont