The Mary Rose

Photo credit: Coady Photography


HOT SPRINGS, AR (Friday, May 6, 2022) – The Mary Rose capped a huge meet for her owner Shortleaf Stable Inc. and she became the richest Arkansas-bred female with her 9 3/4 -length victory Friday in the $150,000 Natural State Breeders’ Stakes.

The Mary Rose, the heavy 3-5 favorite, went right to the lead and never looked back, setting fractions of :23 3/5 and :47 4/5 for the first half. She continued to widen her margin of victory through the stretch, finishing the one-mile race in 1:37 1/5. Downthedustryroad Breeders’ Stakes winner Connie K. was second, while Kaboom Baby was third.

“She broke very sharply and clean,” jockey Emmanuel Esquivel said. “(Trainer) John (Ortiz) told me that if someone really wanted the lead then let them go, but she broke perfectly. I didn’t see anyone on the outside on the first turn so they let me go real comfortable and when I asked her, she was just there for me. Like always, Johnny did a great job with her.”

The victory was the fourth of the season for trainer John Ortiz and hopefully a good omen of what is to come. Ortiz left immediately after the race to fly back to Louisville where he will saddle William Simon’s Barber Road in his first Kentucky Derby (G1) Saturday.

“That was a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “Manny (Esquivel) did a great job by trying to get her to rate. I didn’t think we were going to be in the front like that with all these sprinters coming up and stretching out. I thought there would be a little bit more speed, but they let her have it and she showed up like always here at Oaklawn.”

The Mary Rose, a homebred daughter of Mucho Uno, improved her record to 6-4-2 in 19 career starts and she has now earned $528,904, surpassing Humble Creek with $503,545. The win gave John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable 19 wins for the meet, extending the lead to three wins over M and M Racing for the leading owner title.

“She was running so smoothly and so evenly and so easily, it seemed the natural thing to do (go to the lead),” Anthony said. “Well ridden. It never hurts to have a little luck. We came in with a nice group of horses and we’ve won, certainly, some nice races. The Arkansas program has been very kind to us and I applaud that program under the leadership of Bill McDowell and his board. They have helped bring this Arkansas-bred industry to the forefront. Oaklawn has cooperated and supported that program. It’s paid off for us, as Arkansans, but I think for the track itself.”

Live racing resumes Saturday with a special 12 noon first post. Sunday, May 8 is closing day.