What appeared to be a two-horse race on paper in Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds turned out not to be the case at all as Charlie’s Penny produced a breakout performance to win the Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep stylishly by 3 1/4 lengths at odds of 9-1.
Rated in third and in the clear by jockey Brian Hernandez Jr., Charlie’s Penny overtook both long-time leader Littlestitious and 7-10 favorite Sun Path in upper stretch and extended her advantage impressively to the wire, covering one mile and 70 yards over a fast track in 1:43.80.
Souper Sensational, the 9-5 second choice, trailed the field of six through the opening half-mile, swung wide entering the stretch and proved second best by three parts of a length over 49-1 outsider Moon Swag. Sun Path weakened to fourth and was followed by Littlestitious and Barista.
A homebred racing for Bob Lothenbach and trained by Chris Block, Charlie’s Penny paid $20.40. She earned 10 qualifying points toward the 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1), while Souper Sensational earned four points, Moon Swag two points, and Sun Path one point.
“Brian did a fantastic job around the first turn getting her out and settled in there behind what was a slow pace, which I think benefited us to a degree,” Block said. “In the middle of the turn I could see that he had a ton of horse and when she ranged up there on the outside turning for home, I’ve seen her level off really well going short, and I thought if she could do that going long, we’re going to be ok.
“We will see how she comes out of this and I would guess that (the Rachel Alexandra [G2] on Feb. 13) would be what we would think next.”
A debut winner by seven lengths over the Polytrack at Arlington last September, Charlie’s Penny was subsequently fourth to Souper Sensational in the Glorious Song S. at Woodbine. Her first dirt appearance, a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Churchill Downs in late November, was a winning one, and she most recently finished third in the Letellier Memorial at Fair Grounds on Dec. 19. Her record now stands at 5-3-0-1, $173,890.
Bred in Minnesota, Charlie’s Penny is by Race Day and out of Sweet Lorraine, by Warrior’s Reward. She’s a full sister to stakes winner Mom’s Red Lipstick.