February 20, 2024

Obligatory rallies for Eight Belles score

Obligatory wins the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs (Photography by Jamie Newell / TwinSpires)

Juddmonte’s homebred Obligatory collared the favored Dayoutoftheoffice in the final sixteenth of Friday’s $300,000 Eight Belles S. at Churchill Downs, edging the favorite by a length and earning her first stakes score.

Euphoric took the dozen sophomore fillies through quick splits of :21.89 and :44.46 before giving way to Dayoutoftheoffice, who assumed what appeared to be an insurmountable lead through six furlongs in 1:09.16. In the final eighth, however, she tired just enough to yield to Obligatory, who went from last to first, circling most of the field and completing the seven-furlong, Grade 2 contest in 1:21.89.

Obligatory, with Jose Ortiz up, wins the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs (Photography by Jamie Newell / TwinSpires)

Trained by Bill Mott and ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz, Obligatory returned healthy payouts of $35, $12.40 and $9.80 at 16-1 odds. The gray daughter of Curlin also keyed an $11,724.50 superfecta that was filled out by Dayoutoftheoffice, Make Mischief and Souper Sensational.

Completing the order of finish were Abrogate, Li’l Tootsie, Caramel Swirl, Slumber Party, Cantata, Euphoric, Windmill and Kalypso. The latter was eased to the wire, reportedly bled but walked off on her own power.

A Kentucky homebred, Obligatory is the fourth foal and first black-type winner produced by the stakes-winning Macho Uno mare Uno Duo. Obligatory’s fourth dam is the Hall of Fame mare Chris Evert, whose many accomplishments include New York’s Triple Tiara in 1974. Uno Duo has a unraced two-year-filly named Swift Thinker and an unnamed yearling colt (both by Arrogate).

With Friday’s score, Obligatory has a record of 4-2-0-0 and earnings of $217,780.