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Oldham-connected horses come up short at Churchill

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By Brad Stephens

LOUISVILLE – While Commanding Curve, ridden by Goshen’s Shaun Bridgmohan, placed in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, two other horses with county connections didn’t run as well this weekend.

Kiss Moon, bred by Hermitage Farm in Goshen, finished 12th out of 12 horses Friday in the Kentucky Oaks.

One day later Ride on Curlin, whose owner, Dan Dougherty, has family in Oldham County, came home seventh in the Derby.

Kiss Moon, bidding to be Hermitage’s first Oaks winner since Nancy Jr., in 1967, finished 31 ½ lengths behind winner Untapable.

The 45-1 shot, with Victor Espinoza aboard, had trouble at the start, breaking awkwardly and brushing the gate.

Kiss Moon moved four wide before coming up empty after six furlongs and coming home to a last-place finish.

Her gate problems came as result of an incident involving the No. 10 horse, long-shot Empress of Midway, Espinoza and trainer David Vance said.

Empress of Midway flipped in the gate as the final horses were being loaded. She was scratched and the horses were re-loaded.

Kiss Moon drew the No. 6 post position and therefore was stuck in the gates far longer than usual during the commotion concerning Empress of Midway.

“(All the chaos) didn’t help her and she didn’t break well,” Vance said. “She just was never in position.”

Added Espinoza, who won the Derby Saturday aboard California Chrome: “I missed the break, she dropped far back and she didn’t have a lot of run. She got nervous in there after everything happened with the 10 (Empress of Midway) and I think that affected her.”

Kiss Moon will primarily focus on turf races the rest of her career, Vance said.

Ride on Curlin broke from the far outside Saturday and jockey Calvin Borel took him behind the field and straight to the rail, against the wishes of trainer Billy Gowan.

Ride on Curlin got stuck behind a glut of other horses and was left without a lot of running room.

“It was a little bit of a rough trip,” Borel said. “They backed up into me around the turn and we had nowhere to go.”

Ride on Curlin settled well off the pace while remaining inside, running 18th at the 3/4-mile pole, 17th at the mile pole and 14th at the head of the stretch.

He fanned out wide inside the 3/16-pole, and passed some tiring rivals to finish seventh but never threatened to finish in the money.

Gowan told Pimlico Race Course Monday that Ride on Curlin will run in the Preakness Stakes May 17 in Baltimore, but that Joel Rosario will be aboard instead of Borel.

“He was not tired at all after the Derby,” Gowan said of his horse. “He only ran three-eighths of a mile. He was more tired after his seven-eighths work last Sunday.”

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