Juddmonte Farms' homebred Bonny South made it look easy in Saturday's Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, circling the field and pulling away to win by about 2 1/2 lengths. The 3-year-old daughter of Munnings was sent to post at odds of 6-1 off a pair of wins in allowance company from three starts. Ridden by Florent Geroux for trainer Brad Cox, Bonny South ran 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.57.
The victory earns Bonny South 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, which has been re-scheduled for the first Friday in September in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
“All I know is that I don't think she likes to be rushed early,” Cox said. “Florent (Geroux, jockey) said she kind of went around nice and easy today. Obviously she's a very nice filly. She was a workmate to an unbelievably nice filly we lost a couple of weeks ago. This filly has just stepped up immensely. Even when we were walking up and handing her to the pony, we were like wow she looks like she is bigger and stronger. She is getting better every day. I guess she is in the Kentucky Oaks, just have to figure out how to get to September 4th. That's a long way off and just have to see how things play out. Very proud of her she ran a great race today. Congratulations to Juddmonte Farms. Very thankful to have her in the barn.”
French Rose jumped the best and led the field to the clubhouse turn, flanked by Stop Shoppin Tammy through fractions of :24.30 and :47.91. Antoinette was a bit rank trapped on the rail to the inside of 1-5 favorite Finite, stalking the pace from fourth position. Meanwhile, behind Tempers Rising was Bonny South, trailing the field in sixth position down the backstretch.
Geroux got her moving behind a five-wide wall of fillies in the far turn, but waited to angle out until the field straightened for home. As soon as she changed leads, Bonny South started to gain on the leaders. She was in front by the sixteenth pole and pulled away under the wire, winning by about 2 1/2 lengths.
Tempers Rising went four-wide in the far turn but was second best in the lane, and Antoinette struggled to find running room before flattening out to finish third. The 1-5 favorite Finite finished fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Juddmonte, Bonny South is out of the unplaced Tapit mare Touch the Star, a half-sister to Group 1 winner Etoile Montante. Though she finished fourth on debut in November, Bonny South won at second asking in December and came back in February to win a first-level allowance at the Fair Grounds. Now a three-time winner from four starts, the filly has earned over $320,000.
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