Sports

Shedaresthedevil won the 2020 Kentucky Oaks, the top horse race in the country for 3-year-old fillies. The horse, owned by Qatar Racing and Flurry Racing Stables, was trained by Brad Cox. 

Florent Geroux was the jockey who took her over the finish line ahead of second place finisher Swiss Skydiver for the $1.25 million purse. Anticipated front runner Gamine, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, came in third. 

It was an unprecedented Oaks Day in many ways. For the first time in the event’s 145-year history, it was held in September, rather than May, and run without spectators in the stands due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. 

Oaks is typically a daylong party, a kick-off to the Kentucky Derby, which runs the next day. The whole event is pink themed — from the traditional drink, to the outfits, to the garland of lilies given to the winning horse. Some aspects of Oaks are a fundraiser for women’s health issues, and there’s usually a parade of survivors of breast and ovarian cancer. 

But this year, all of that was stripped away by the coronavirus, leaving only the horse race itself. Swiss Skydiver and Gamine were expected to vye for the top spot. Gamine pulled out to a length-lead early, but Shedaresthedevil started to pull ahead at the final stretch. With one furlong to go, Shedaresthedevil pulled into first and Swiss Skydiver pushed Gamine into third. 

Gamine was in the news earlier this summer, when Baffert was suspended for 15 days by the Arkansas Racing Commission after she and another horse tested positive for banned substances. Baffert said in a hearing that they were accidentally exposed to lidocaine by a trainer who had applied the medicine to his own back, according to the New York Times. 

Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby five times, and trained 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh and 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. He has two horses entered in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. 

Eleanor Klibanoff is a reporter with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.