05/06/2011 6:18PM

Kentucky Oaks thriller as Plum Pretty holds off St. John's River

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Plum Pretty proved her 25-length victory six weeks earlier in the Sunland Park Oaks was no fluke when she outlasted a fast-closing St. John’s River to win the $1 million Kentucky Oaks on Friday at Churchill Downs.

Plum Pretty, a 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, is owned by John Fort’s Peachtree Stable and is trained by Bob Baffert. She was ridden to victory by Martin Garcia, who also won the Grade 3 Alysheba for Baffert earlier in the day with First Dude.

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Plum Pretty rated off the early pace of Summer Soiree, readily took control into the stretch, drew well clear then desperately withstood the final surge of St. John’s River and jockey Rosie Napravnik. Zazu rallied to finish third.

Plum Pretty completed 1 1/8 miles over a fast track in 1:49.50 and paid $14.60.

“Martin rode a beautiful race,” said Baffert. “He sat on her and didn’t move. That Sunland race is pretty tough. This filly has really come around.”