Astrollinthepark Does Just That at Churchill Downs

(Astrollinthepark wins the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Churchill Downs)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Dreamchaser Thorobreds’ 4-year-old homebred filly Astrollinthepark contested the pace from the outside, put away 9-5 favorite Vertical Oak in deep stretch and held off a late run by Winning Colors (Grade III) winner Miss Kentucky to win Saturday’s ninth running of the $75,033 Roxelana Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs by two lengths.

Trained by Larry Jones and ridden by Florent Geroux, Astrollinthepark ran six furlongs over a fast track in 1:09.98 to collect the second stakes win of her career. Last year, she won the $75,000 Austintown Filly Sprint at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

Astrollinthepark broke alertly from post No. 6 in the field of seven fillies and mares. She comfortably raced three-wide from the outside as Mythical Tale and Vertical Oak joined in setting the pace with a swift first quarter-mile in :21.31. A two-horse battle ensued around the turn as Mythical Tale gave way. Astrollinthepark poked her head in front at the top of the stretch after clocking a half-mile in :44.45 and drew clear late in the stretch under a steady drive.

“She broke like a rocket,” Geroux said. “I kept her just off the leader’s flank on the outside and, even though we were going fast, she was in control. When I asked her to go in the stretch she dug in and held off Miss Kentucky. I think this was a great race for her. She’s really starting to develop nicely.”

The triumph was worth $45,420 and boosted Astrollinthepark’s bankroll to $220,090 with a record of 13-5-1-2.

Astrollinthepark is a daughter of Divine Park out of the Quiet American mare All in With Aces and was bred in Kentucky by her owner David Gamble, who races and breeds under the nom de course Dreamchaser Thorobreds.

“We owned her mother so we know this family quite well,” Jones said. “She’s just taken some time to come along but is starting to really improve. She broke really well today and that was the key to the race. I told Flo to get her into the race early. She took it very well when she ended up on the lead that early. She had a good position and things worked out very well.”

Astrollinthepark returned $9.80, $4.40 and $2.60 as the 7-2 third betting choice. Miss Kentucky, second in the betting at odds of 2-1 under Brian Hernandez Jr., returned $3.40 and $2.40 and finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Vertical Oaks who paid $2.20 to show under Ricardo Santana Jr.

Annathela, Golden Domer, Julerette and Mythical Tale completed the order of finish.

The Roxelana annually honors the crack female sprinter who won seven of 11 starts and $264,726 between 2000-03 for owner/breeder William Landes III and trainer William “Blackie” Huffman.

Racing at Churchill Downs continues Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern). There is a $20,700 carryover in Sunday’s 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot which begins in Race 5 at 2:45 p.m. and a $1,946 Super Hi-5 carryover for the 5:26 p.m. finale. Sunday doubles as Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger. In partnership with the Louisville Sports Commission, there are more than 20 activities children under 12 can enjoy. For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.

ROXELANA QUOTES

Florent Geroux, jockey of ASTROLLINTHEPARK (winner): “She broke like a rocket. I kept her just off the leader’s flank on the outside and, even though we were going fast, she was in control. When I asked her to go in the stretch she dug in and held off Miss Kentucky. I think this was a great race for her. She’s really starting to develop nicely.”

Larry Jones, trainer of ASTROLLINTHEPARK (winner): “We owned her mother so we know this family quite well. She’s just taken some time to come along but is starting to really improve. She broke really well today and that was the key to the race. I told Flo to get her into the race early. She took it very well when she ended up on the lead that early. She had a good position and things worked out very well.”

Jack Bohannan, assistant trainer of MISS KENTUCKY (runner-up): “She ran a good race but just couldn’t close into the pace today. They went really fast early and it just didn’t work out for us today.”

I think the blinkers had him more focused. I was a little concerned early on, he was a little too head strong. Johnny made a good tactical move letting the pace setter go and then getting outside of the horse. He fought back hard, finished up well and galloped out with enthusiasm. This race was a big step in the right direction. I was pleased with the way he conducted himself. He seems to be maturing as he gets more experience.”

Todd Pletcher, Trainer for Noble Indy

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