03/23/2013 5:01PM

Turfway Park: Silsita wins tight photo in Bourbonette

Pat Lang Photography
Silsita, outside, noses out Marathon Lady, in the Bourbonette Stakes.

FLORENCE, Ky. – Silsita got the favorable head-bob following a searing stretch duel with longshot Marathon Lady to give trainer Todd Pletcher a Kentucky Oaks candidate when she notched the most narrow of victories Saturday in the 31st running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.

With John Velazquez riding for his main client, Silsita appeared beaten with maybe 20 yards to go in the one-mile Bourbonette before persisting to defeat Marathon Lady, a 31-1 shot under Robby Albarado. The winner returned $20.40, while Pure Fun, the 4-5 favorite, had no apparent excuse when finishing third in the field of 12 3-year-old fillies.

Silsita earned 50 points for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks in the new eligibility system being used by Churchill Downs.

Silsita, a gray Florida-bred filly by Macho Uno, finished the distance in 1:38.27 over Polytrack. The filly was bought privately after her first career start at Calder by the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners headed by Aron Wellman. She now has won 2 of 4 starts, with the Bourbonette marking her stakes debut.

“We really haven’t thought much beyond this race,” said Wellman. “Todd has thought a lot of her since the first day he came to her. You don’t get a lot of days like this, so we’ll enjoy this. I’m sure we’ll come up with a plan soon enough.”

The top two finishers were prominent from the start, trading the lead back-and-forth down the stretch before the photo-finish camera gave the nod to Silsita, who was positioned just outside her rival.

Rushaway: Crop Report rallies from last

One race earlier, Team Valor International president Barry Irwin presented the winner’s trophy to himself after Crop Report ($3.20) rallied from far back for a popular score in the 29th running of the $75,000 Team Valor Rushaway Stakes.

Crop Report was wearing blinkers for the first time and making his fourth career start when overtaking race-long leader Divine Ambition to prevail by 1 3/4 lengths. Just six 3-year-olds started after three scratches.

Crop Report, by Medaglia d’Oro, finished the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.66. Joel Rosario was aboard for trainer Graham Motion.

Irwin said he is very excited about the chances of Crop Report developing into a classics-type horse, but not for the Kentucky Derby. “Maybe the Belmont,” he said. “He’s got a beautiful stride, but he’s just so immature still.”

* In an international rider competition staged as the sixth race, St. Armands ($5.40) gave 10-pound apprentice Mallory Strandberg the second victory of her career when drawing clear by three lengths. The six-furlong race for $5,000 conditioned claimers pitted four American jockeys versus four counterparts from other countries. All of the participants were graduates of a riding academy in their respective countries.