07/05/2008 12:00AM

Pure Clan gets through to win American Oaks

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INGLEWOOD, Calif.-A patient ride by jockey Julien Leparoux helped Pure Clan find her way through traffic to win the $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park on Saturday.

But as quick as Leparoux was to make the right decisions aboard Pure Clan, he was slow to take credit.

“I just got lucky,” he said. “It kind of opened up on us.”

Leparoux saved ground on Pure Clan to the final turn, was stuck behind the pacesetters for a few strides in the stretch, but then guided the filly between rivals in the stretch to win by three-quarters of a length over French invader Satan's Circus. Clearly Foxy finished third in the field of 12 3-year-old fillies.

“I didn't have much room to go,” Leparoux said. “It was pretty tight.”

Others were quick to praise the jockey. “Julien did a great job,” winning trainer Bob Holthus said. “I was a little worried turning for home.”

Pure Clan ($7), a slight favorite over fourth-place finisher Carribean Sunset, ran 1 1/4 miles on turf in 2:00.50. Breaking from the rail, Pure Clan saved ground throughout, racing about seven lengths behind pacesetter Raw Silk. Pure Clan was ninth on the backstretch and had moved into third on the final turn before Leparoux guided her to the front in the final furlong.

“She always runs the last sixteenth as hard as she can,” Holthus said of Pure Clan.

Satan's Circus, who may have led for a few strides in the stretch, finished a half-length in front of Clearly Foxy, who had a rough trip through the stretch, waiting for room at a pivotal point.

Carribean Sunset, third in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20, closed from eighth to finish fourth, four lengths behind the winner.

Pure Clan, who has never been worse than third, has won 6 of 9 starts and $1,002,416. By Pure Prize, she is owned by Lewis Lakin, IEAH Stables and Peagsus Holding Group Stables.

The American Oaks was Pure Clan's first Grade 1. She is likely to ship from Holthus's base at Churchill Downs for another California Grade 1 on turf, the $400,000 Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 16.