Front runner Serengeti Empress broke well, took an early lead and didn’t let go until she won the 2019 Kentucky Oaks.
For Serengeti Empress, it was all about lucky 13. She started in post 13 and ran at odds of 13-1. Many had minimized her chances of running well after she suffered an episode of exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EPHI) (see the post on Lasix), but she proved the doubters wrong.
The race started with a frightening fall when Positive Spirit clipped heels with Jaywalk and fell, shortly after leaving the starting gate. The filly got up and ran off under her own power; outriders caught her at the first turn and trainer Rodolphe Brisset tweeted that she seemed “to be fine and walking normal in the barn” after the race. Jockey Manny Franco also escaped without major injury. Sixth-place finisher Jaywalk was disqualified and placed last for causing the interference with Positive Spirit.
Serengeti Empress got to the rail at the first turn and held her advantage. Liora challenged her, but never got past the tip of her tail.
“When she put her head down and took off, I said, ‘Man, she’s going to run big today,’” Jose Ortiz said. “Past the 1/8 pole, I hit her left‑handed. She gave me that second gear, and from that point on, I know I had her. That filly was never going to go by her. She pinned her ears down, and she was going to keep going.” Paulick Report.