Serengeti Empress went wire-to-wire to win the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks by 1 3/4 lengths over Liora on Friday at Churchill Downs.
The start featured a scary moment when Positive Spirit fell down and threw jockey Manny Franco after clipping another horse as the 14-horse field closed together from the gate. Both were able to get up and walk off the track. Serengeti Empress started from the No. 13 post to lead by the first turn and kept it up despite Liora’s late attempt to close the gap.
The dark brown filly rebounded from a seventh-place run in the Fair Grounds Oaks to win the premier race for 3-year-old fillies and earn her second win in three starts this year. Serengeti Empress also gave trainer Tom Amoss his first Kentucky Oaks victory.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Serengeti Empress covered 1 1/8 miles 1:50.17 and paid $28, $14.80 and $9.60.
Liora returned $32.60 and $17, and Lady Apple paid $7 to show.