Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen saddled his fourth winner of the afternoon and registered his fourth career victory in the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Monday when She's a Julie went wire to wire under Ricardo Santana Jr. to take the 1 1/16-mile race for older fillies and mares by 2 3/4 lengths. The Bayakoa was Santana's fourth victory of the afternoon as well, having ridden all of Asmussen's previous winners.
Promise of Spring, a 17-1 long shot ridden by Corey Lanerie, was up late to finish second, 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Moonlit Garden in third, with Rose of Malibu fourth in the field of 10. Time for 1 1/16 miles on a fast track was 1:43.55 after fractions of :23.78, :48.01, 1:12.30 and 1:37.21. She's a Julie paid $4.80 as the favorite.
She's a Julie, a 4-year-old filly by Elusive Quality out of Kydd Gloves, by Dubai Millennium, was bred in Kentucky by Godolphin. Named for the trainer's wife, She's a Julie is owned by Bradley Thoroughbreds, Whispering Oaks Farm, Team Hanley, Madaket Stables, and Tim and Anna Cambron.
She's a Julie went straight to the front at the start with Florent Geroux hustling 5-2 second choice Remedy alongside the leader rounding the first turn. Those two raced as a team down the backstretch when Moonlit Garden ranged up alongside while three wide at the three-eighths pole. The trio rounded the final turn together with Remedy the first to yield. In the stretch, She's a Julie gradually pulled away from Moonlit Garden and had plenty left to hold off the late running Promise of Spring.
The win was the fifth in 12 career starts for She's a Julie, whose first added-money victory came last July in the G3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows. After a second-place finish to Eskimo Kisses in the G1 Alabama at Saratoga, She's a Julie won the G3 Remington Park Oaks at Remington Park in Oklahoma. In her last out, she finished fourth in the Zia Park Oaks in New Mexico Nov. 21.
Asmussen's previous Bayakoa Stakes wins came in 2003 with McKinney, 2006 with Capeside Lady and 2017 with Terra Promessa, the latter also ridden by Santana.
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