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John Asher's Kentucky Oaks 136 Update for Monday, Feb. 22
SOUTH / JODY SLEW ARRIVES IN TIME FOR SILVERBULLETDAY USPET – The rapidly improving Jody Slew is developing a reputation for dramatic finishes after completing a last-to-first rally under jockey Miguel Mena to notch an upset victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Silverbulletday (Grade III) at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds.
Trainer Bret Calhoun’s daughter of Slew City Slew followed a stretch-running formula that produced an earlier surprise win in Fair Grounds’ Tiffany Lass Stakes when she rallied from the back of a six-horse field to nail pace-setting Quiet Temper in the final stride to win by a nose at odds of 8-1. It was another 10 lengths back to Age of Humor in third while odds-on favorite Devil May Care, winner of Belmont Park’s Frizette (GI) at two for trainer Todd Pletcher, finish fifth after a slow start and a wide journey.
"I didn't expect the one (Quiet Temper) to be loose,” Calhoun said. “When she was loose and going so easy, I thought the race was over. It didn't look like (Jody Slew) really got into the race until she got that horse in her sights.”
Jody Slew, who was 23-1 when she won the Tiffany Lass, covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.80. She is expected to compete next in the March 27 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).
KENTUCKY / DAY OF FIRSTS FOR DOMINANT HELEN BELEN – Desk Farm’s Helen Belen broke sharply to grab and early lead and improved on that position when she drew off to score an dominant 14 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s $50,000 Valdale at Turfway Park.
The daughter of Five Star Day covered a mile in 1:37.96 on the synthetic Polytrack surface. The Valdale was the first stakes win for Helen Belen, as well as for Desk Farms’ owner Mike Schnell and trainer Bill Denzik Jr. The 3-year-old filly was a troubled third in her previous start in the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at the Florence, Ky. track.
Hot Citizen finished second and Offlee Funny was third.
FLORIDA / STRONG FIELD ASSEMBLING FOR DAVONA DALE – Jerry Romans Jr.’s Sassy Image, winner of Churchill Downs’ Golden Rod (GII) and Pocahontas (GIII), worked five furlongs Saturday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for next Saturday’s Davona Dale.
The Dale Romans-trained Sassy Image breezed five furlongs in 1:01.50 Saturday as she prepares to face a group of rivals for the one-mile Davona Dale that includes Forward Gal (GII) winner Bickersons, Amen Halleluhjah and dazzling maiden winner Christine Daae.
WEST / TORNADO BETTY ROARS AGAIN – Odds-on favorite Tornado Betty, Jorge Carreno up, rolled to an easy four-length win in Saturday’s $25,000 Arizona Oaks at Phoenix’s Turf Paradise.