07/25/2016 7:51AM

Princess Kennedy nips Brookys Star in Washington Oaks

Reed & Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Princess Kennedy edges Brookys Star to the Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs on Sunday.

With a perfectly timed ride by Rocco Bowen, Princess Kennedy got up in the last few strides to edge Brookys Star in the $81,250 Washington Oaks at Emerald Downs Sunday. She paid $5.40 as the favorite in the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, which drew seven horses.

With Brookys Star and My Heart Goes On dueling through quick interior fractions of 22.17 and 45.22 seconds, Bowen had Princess Kennedy sitting comfortably in sixth with only her stablemate Sunrise Glow behind her. She made a strong move on the second turn from along the rail, angled out coming out of the turn, and wore down Brookys Star to win by a neck in 1:47.79.

Brookys Star was very game in defeat. After disposing of My Heart Goes On, Brookys Star repelled a bid by Find Joy at midstretch before narrowly losing. Find Joy, ridden by Isaias Enriquez, made what looked like a winning move at the top of the stretch but hung late.

“We came up with a game plan and we knew there was going to be a good pace,” said Bowen. “I was following Isaias and we both had a good trip.”

It was the third win in the Oaks for trainer Tom Wenzel.

It was the first win for Princess Kennedy in 2016. Following an 8 3/4-length romp in the Barbara Shinpoch Stakes at Emerald last year, she went on an ambitious fall-winter campaign which included running in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs.

“Last winter took a lot out of her,” said Wenzel. “She was really starting to come around heading into the Oaks, though.”

Princess Kennedy is owned by David Thorner. He is also the breeder of the Kentucky-bred daughter of Sun King.