After riding all Sunday afternoon at Chicago's Arlington Park, jockey Sophie Doyle drove to Louisville for Fair Grounds Oaks winner Street Band's final timed workout for Saturday's $200,000, Grade 3 Indiana Oaks at Indiana Grand.
No way she was going to have someone else on the Larry Jones-trained and co-owned 3-year-old filly for a workout, let alone the one before Street Band — upon whom Doyle earned her biggest win as a jockey in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks — makes her first start since the Kentucky Oaks.
“She means a lot. As a jockey, they come along once in a lifetime,” Doyle said. “She's definitely doing that for me… As a female jockey, too, it's always hard to come along a really good one like this and keep the mount on it. It's fantastic to ride for Larry Jones and have great owners like MyRacehorse, that bought a part of her to get new fans into racing.”
The filly has her quirks, but Street Band and Doyle have become in tune with each other. For instance, Doyle can't go to Street Band's stall when she first gets to Jones' barn at Churchill Downs because the filly will get antsy, knowing the presence of the jockey means business.
Street Band powered five-eighths of a mile in 59 4/5 seconds, the second-fastest of 10 workouts at the distance at Churchill on Monday, pleasing both Doyle and assistant trainer Corey York, who oversees the Ellis Park-based Jones' Louisville operation.
“The workout was tremendous. She was strong in my hands — everything you'd want in a horse going into another graded stakes,” Doyle said. “She really stretched out all the way to the wire and the same through the gallop-out. I was really pleased with her.”
“She's definitely not an easy one to get along with,” York said of Street Band, “and it's not really her fault. Her whole family has been like that. She's actually one of the better ones. It's good that Sophie has been with her for so long and knows how to ride her, her tendencies, her aggressions. If somebody else were to get on the horse and she was a little rank, maybe they get a little too strong in her mouth. Where Sophie has been on her enough that she knows that's normal. It's good to have a good little team. Sophie's been getting on her since December, maybe before that. So they know each other, which is always good.”
Street Band, off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexander, put it all together to win the Fair Grounds Oaks by 3 3/4 lengths over a field that included Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress and Oaks runner-up Liora. But in the Kentucky Oaks, Street Band was in tight early and got shuffled back, having to come wide and ultimately finishing seventh in the field of 14.
“She still finished; she still hung in there down the lane,” Doyle said. “She never gave it up. She kept trying. It was a tough bunch of fillies to run against. I wasn't disappointed in Street Band at all. She's a young horse and she's just going to keep on progressing.”
Jones and his wife, Cindy, bred and co-own Street Band with Ray Francis of Henderson, Ky., with Medallion Racing and MyRacehorse.com acquiring minority interests in the filly before the Kentucky Oaks.
“It's another family we've had a long time,” Jones said. “We know they get better with age. So the filly is naturally progressing and what her genetics are telling her to do. And she's doing really well right now. In the Oaks, we had the widest trip, the longest trip of anybody. She ran well. It wasn't her best race by any means, but she ran well considering what she gave up.”
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