July 2, 2020

Owendale, Dunbar Road make successful comebacks in Churchill stakes

Owendale wins the Blame Stakes (Coady Photography)

Some might have thought Saturday’s $100,000 Blame at Churchill Downs was being used by Owendale as a mere prep for next month’s longer and more lucrative Stephen Foster (G2), but the talented 4-year-old proved otherwise with a last-to-first rally in the mile heat.

The 7-2 second choice, Owendale trailed the field of 12 after a quarter-mile, but a strong pace aided the Brad Cox trainee when it counted as he wore down longshots Everfast and Silver Dust near the finish to score by a half-length under Florent Geroux.

“He ran very impressively today,” Geroux said. “This isn’t his best distance and not the end goal but it was very exciting to see him return to the races off of a layoff like that.”

Owned by Rupp Racing, Owendale paid $9 after finishing in a snappy 1:34.74 over a fast track. Everfast edged Silver Dust by a neck for second, with Mr. Money 2 3/4 lengths back in fourth.

The order of finish was completed by Snapper Sinclair, 2-1 favorite Global Campaign, Diamond King, Backyard Heaven, Alwaysmining, Extrordinary Jerry, Discreet Lover, and Long Range Toddy.

Winner last season of the Lexington (G3), Ohio Derby (G2), and Oklahoma Derby (G3), Owendale also ran third in the Preakness (G1) and was last seen finishing second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Clark (G1) on Nov. 29. He could meet that rival again in the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster on June 27.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, the $200,000 Keeneland September purchase is a son of Into Mischief and out of Aspen Light, by Bernardini.

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Dunbar Road, one of last season’s leading 3-year-old fillies, made a successful return to action in the inaugural $100,000 Shawnee over 1 1/16 miles.

Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Dunbar Road surged into contention from sixth around the far turn, battled with 27-1 chance Chocolate Kisses in the stretch, and put that one away inside the final sixteenth to win by 1 3/4 lengths as the 7-10 favorite.

“We broke a little slow but she’s so classy,” Ortiz said. “I’m very happy she’s back.”

Owned by Peter Brant and trained by Chad Brown, Dunbar returned $3.40 after completing the course in 1:43.65. Chocolate Kisses held second by 1 1/4 lengths over Vault, with Awe Emma, Another Broad, She’s a Julie, Moonlit Garden and Flower Party completing the order of finish.

Winner in four of her first five starts last season, including the Alabama (G1) and Mother Goose (G2), Dunbar Road finished third to Blue Prize in the Spinster (G1) last October and was fifth behind that rival again in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) the following month when last seen.

Also second in her stakes debut in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Dunbar Road has now earned $758,040.

By Quality Road and out Gift List, by Bernardini, Dunbar Road was bred in Kentucky by Jeffery Drown and was sold at Keeneland September for $350,000.