LOUISVILLE — When Authenticity won by a head at the wire in Friday's Grade II, $335,100 La Troienne Stakes, she upset a pair of Grade I winners and solidified the hopes of another.
The workmate for Kentucky Derby entrant Verrazano got her own set of accolades in her second try against stakes company. After battling with Grade I winner On Fire Baby on the front end throughout, Authenticity prevailed when those two continued to match strides in the stretch to win the 11⁄16-mile La Troienne over a fast main track.
The La Troienne was one of four graded stakes at Churchill Downs on the undercard of the Kentucky Oaks.
Authenticity's second win in four starts this year also served to answer any questions about the fitness of her jockey, John Velazquez. Velazquez, who will ride Verrazano on Saturday, only returned to competition Thursday at Belmont Park for the first time since suffering injuries to his right wrist and ribs in a spill on April 7.
"I though it was a huge win for us on a number of fronts," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who also conditions Verrazano. "She's been working in company with Verrazano so in my mind that moves his works up a notch and solidifies what he's been doing.
"In Johnny's second ride back he's obviously in good form. So that was key, and she's a quality filly. It was good, good, good."
Authenticity covered the distance in 1:42.09. Believe You Can, winner of the 2012 Kentucky Oaks, finished third, 43/4 lengths behind the top two.
Take Charge Indy back on top in Alysheba
One year after suffering an injury during his 19th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Grade I winner Take Charge Indy dominated his competition on the first weekend in May when he won the Grade II Alysheba Stakes by 6 lengths over eight others.
A half-brother to Will Take Charge, who is set to start in Saturday's Kentucky Derby, Take Charge Indy had a bone chip in his left front ankle removed after his effort in the classic last May. The son of A.P. Indy earned his first win since taking the 2012 Florida Derby when he took the lead from Right to Vote around the turn and drew off handily under jockey Rosie Napravnik.
Take Charge Indy finished the 11⁄16-mile test in 1:41.41. Cyber Secret crossed the wire in second but was disqualified to eighth for interference when he dropped in on Bourbon Courage heading into the first turn and caused a chain reaction that also affected Macho Macho.
Hymn Book moved up to second via the disqualification with Bourbon Courage up to third.
So Many Ways takes Eight Belles
Tom Amoss trainee So Many Ways surged on the far outside to win the Grade III Eight Belles Stakes going 7 furlongs on the main track.
With Garrett Gomez up, So Many Ways swung out six wide leaving the turn and quickened to edge Fusaichiswonderful by half a length. The daughter of Sightseeing covered the distance in 1:22.84 with Irish Lute third.
American Turf Stakes
The favorite Noble Tune and jockey Javier Castellano sat just off the pace throughout, then slyly slid past the leaders on the inside and pulled away in the stretch to win the Grade II, $200,000 American Turf Stakes by 13/4 lengths.
The victory was Noble Tune's fifth in six career starts for trainer Chad Brown. His only loss was a second-place finish in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Admiral Kitten and War Dancer were second and third in the 11⁄16-mile race for 3-year-olds.
Kitten's Dumplings romps in Edgewood
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Dumplings roared past the field at the eighth pole en route to a 33/4-length victory over Praia in the $172,500 Edgewood for 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Mike Maker and ridden by Joel Rosario, Kitten's Dumplings covered the 11⁄16 miles in 1:41.24.
Broken Spell finished third. Wave Theory lost rider Julien Leparoux at the start and did not finish.