Paris Lights got the nod over Crystal Ball in Saturday's $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks S. (G1) at Saratoga, likely earning the fillies at trip to the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Both 3-year-olds are owned by WinStar StableMates Racing LLC, a racing syndicate offered and managed by the farm.
Paris Lights and Crystal Ball were making their stakes debuts on Saturday, but came into the race off impressive efforts. Paris Lights had won two straight starts at Churchill Downs for trainer Bill Mott, while Bob Baffert shipped Crystal Ball cross-country after breaking her maiden by six lengths a month ago at Santa Anita.
At the break, it was Crystal Ball who got the jump and led Paris Lights by a half-length through the first six furlongs, which went in 1:11.54. Paris Lights moved alongside Crystal Ball with about three furlongs to run, and the were nearly inseparable all the way to the wire, with Paris Lights winning officially by a head in 1:50.81 for the nine furlongs on the fast main track.
“They both fought hard,” Mott said. “Our filly was the best one today and I was very proud of her. She’s won her last three. I’d say she’s a pretty accomplished filly for the lack of seasoning. She’s gained our confidence that she has some grit and she has some quality.”
Mott said that Paris Lights could make her next start in the Alabama S. (G1), Aug. 15 at Saratoga.
The winner earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, while Crystal Ball was awarded 40. Both are in the top 14 fillies on the list, the maximum that can start in the race.