10/05/2007 11:00PM

Tessa Blue all alone in Indiana Oaks

EmailTessa Blue acted up a bit while being loaded for the $400,000 Indiana Oaks, but proved to be all business once the gates sprung as she thoroughly dominated her nine rivals with a 7 1/4-length romp in the Grade 3 feature Friday night at Hoosier Park.

Breaking from the outside post, Tessa Blue stalked pacesetting Appealing Zophie three wide while racing well off the rail, assumed the lead from that rival approaching the far turn, and was never challenged thereafter while under a steady drive by jockey Mike Smith.

Boca Grande, the two-time New York graded stakes winner who was favored at 17-10, rallied from well back to finish second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of third choice Marietta, with whom she bumped leaving the gate.

Tessa Blue paid $14.60 and was timed in 1:44.42 for 1 1/16 miles over a fast track.

The Indiana Oaks was the first stakes victory for Tessa Blue, a 3-year-old daughter of Awesome Again trained by Frank Brothers, who had entered Friday's race off a second-place finish in the Prairie Meadows Oaks. Her only previous try in graded company had been an eighth-place finish in the Grade 3 La Troienne at Churchill last May.

Tessa Blue has now won 3 of 8 career starts and nearly $300,000 for owner Bruce Lunsford, a former Kentucky gubernatorial candidate.

Basin Banannie holds on in Richmond

Odds-on favorite Basin Banannie ($3.20) set a very slow pace and withstood a late challenge from Burke's Sister to win the $45,000 Richmond Stakes for Indiana-bred fillies and mares by three-quarters of a length. Brean Can, the winner's entrymate, was another neck behind in third.

Attempting to squeeze through a narrow opening after Basin Bannanie drifted off the rail turning for home, Burke's Sister found herself in tight quarters and was forced to steady late while Basin Banannie appeared to drift in slightly. A claim of foul against the winner by the rider of Burke's Princess was denied.

The Richmond was the second career stakes win for Basin Banannie, who had captured the Indiana Stallion Stakes at Hoosier last year. Ridden by Rodney Prescott and trained by Mike Nance, Basin Bannanie covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:49.12.