HOT SPRINGS, AR (Sunday, Feb. 17, 2020) – Alex & JoAnn Lieblong’s Bye Bye J, making her first start since last May, didn’t disappoint the on-track crowd of 15,000 as she easily won the $125,000 Downthedustyroad Breeders’ Stakes as the heavy 3-5 favorite.
Ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., Bye Bye J assumed a stalking position after breaking from post nine and proceeded to track Matapan through early fractions of :22.78 and :46.60 for the first half mile. The winner gained control at the top of the stretch and drew away from her rivals to win by 1 ½ lengths in a final time of 1:10.50 for six furlongs over a fast track. Georgia’s Reward finished third.
“I was really holding my breath because I knew she wasn’t cranked down,” owner Alex Lieblong said. “And, when you step up to this, these are some nice horses and you need to be cranked down a little bit. But, (trainer) Steve (Asmussen) and the team did a marvelous job.”
The Downthedustyroad, named in honor of the Grade 1 winning Arkansas-bred filly trained by Bob Baffert, was Bye Bye J’s second Oaklawn stakes victory following last year’s Rainbow Stakes. Overall, the Uncaptured filly, trained by Steve Asmussen, has a record of 5-1-1 in nine career starts and has earned $298,105. She returned $3.20, $3.20 and $2.20.
Live racing resumes Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first post.