The last time Pauline’s Pearl had competed at Churchill Downs prior to Friday’s $750,000 La Troienne S. (G1), she finished a retreating eighth in the 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1). Fast forward one year, and Pauline’s Pearl is definitely more the finished article.
The second choice in a field of seven fillies and mares in the La Troienne, Pauline’s Pearl made a three-wide bid down the stretch and overtook 4-5 favorite and defending race titleist Shedaresthedevil to win the 1 1/16-mile fixture by a half-length for owner-breeder Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables.
“It is so satisfying for her to come back and get her first Grade 1 on Oaks Day.” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “She did her best last year in the Oaks. You can see the improvement one year has made in her.”
Ridden by Joel Rosario, Pauline’s Pearl covered the course in 1:42.46 over a fast track and returned $5.80.
Shedaresthedevil, who recovered from a stumbling start and set a pace of :24.02, :47.80, and 1:11.78, held second by 2 3/4 lengths over Ava’s Grace, who briefly threatened while racing in between the top pair in upper stretch. Battle Bling finished fourth and was followed by She’s All Wolfe, Jilted Bride, and Temper Time.
This was the fourth career stakes win for Pauline’s Pearl, who won the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn last year prior to the Kentucky Oaks and concluded her three-year-old campaign by winning the Zia Park Oaks. She kicked off 2022 with a 3 3/4-length triumph in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3), and was most recently second behind champion Ce Ce in the Azeri (G2) at Oaklawn.
Pauline’s Pearl’s has also placed in the Honeybee (G3), Iowa Oaks (G3), Charles Town Oaks (G3), and Remington Park Oaks (G3). Her record now stands at 13-5-4-2, $1,494,200.
Bred in Kentucky, Pauline’s Pearl was reared by 2009 Spinaway (G1) winner Hot Dixie Chick, a Dixie Union half-sister to 2017 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming.