Kerwin Clark had amassed nearly 3,000 victories in his career, which spanned five decades, by the spring of 2015, but none of those compared with the double he connected on with Lovely Maria. Clark guided Lovely Maria to victory in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland Race Course in April for his first career Grade 1 win and then rode the filly to a career-defining score in the $1-million Kentucky Oaks for trainer Larry Jones and owner Brereton C. Jones.
Prior to the Ashland stakes, Clark had gone more than 23,000 races without a Grade 1 win, but the veteran rider said the Ashland-Kentucky Oaks double was well worth the wait.
“I’ve been riding for 40 years and I won my first Grade 1 last month at Keeneland with this horse. Then we won this race today," Clark said after the Oaks. "I am very blessed. Blessed to have this horse; to have [trainer] Larry Jones in my life and believing in me, and to have Mr. [Brereton] Jones believe in me and stick with me.”