04/11/2013 7:21PM

Oaklawn: Vuitton gets up to win Carousel by a nose

Tom Keyser
Vuitton (left) finishes up a determined stretch run with victory over Beat the Blues in the Carousel.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Vuitton caught 8-5 favorite Beat the Blues on the wire in the $100,000 Carousel at Oaklawn on Thursday in one of five wins on the card for her rider, Ricardo Santana Jr. Of the jockey's wins, four came for Vuitton's trainer, Steve Asmussen.   

The Carousel, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares, continued the Racing Festival of the South, a weeklong run of $2.9 million in stakes that closes out the meet at Oaklawn. The series continues on Friday with the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap and the $75,000 Instant Racing.

The Carousel field ran away from Vuitton ($12) in the early stages as Good Deed and Mysterious Chimes blitzed through an opening quarter in 21.85 seconds. Good Deed continued on through a half-mile in 45.84, as Vuitton came seven wide into the stretch. Vuitton was then relentless through the lane to catch Beat the Blues and win by a nose in 1:11.03.

"My horse, when she sees the clear, she likes going," said Santana.

Beat the Blues was a clear second, finishing 2 1/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher Lady Diva Ga Ga.

Santana, 19, won the riding title last year at Delaware Park and is the current leading rider at Oaklawn. His big afternoon Thursday started when he won the fourth race with Dressedupingold ($7). Santana proceeded to win the sixth with Jaypeezee ($4.80), the eighth with Trail Walker($3.80), the ninth with Vuitton, and the 10th with Sir Bond ($3.80). His final four winners were for Asmussen, who leads the trainer standings at Oaklawn.

The Carousel was the third straight win for Vuitton, and her first score in a stakes. Overall she has won 5 of 13 starts and $254,024. Vuitton is a 4-year-old by Smart Strike who races for the partnership of Gillian S. Campbell, Ralph and Shelly Stayer, and Andrew Pajack.

Bryan's Jewel was scratched from the Carousel in favor of running Friday in the Apple Blossom.