Racing News

Kentucky Oaks 137 Barn Notes for May 3 - Zazu Arrives from California For Oaks Run

| Brisnet Editorial | 05/03/2011 #
  • Zazu rallied to beat Turbulent Descent in the Las Virgenes.

  • Trainer Ken McPeek sent Kathmanblu out for a gallop in the slop. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Trainer J. Larry Jones was in the saddle again for a Tuesday gallop by Oaks favorite Joyful Victory. (Reed Palmer, CD)

BOUQUET BOOTH/STREET STORM – While Street Storm walked the shedrow at trainer Steve Margolis’ barn on a cool and wet Tuesday morning, her immediate racing future was being hashed out by Dann Glick, head of the partnership of Right Time Racing that owns the filly.

Would it be the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) at a mile and an eighth on the main track on Friday for Street Storm, or would she go a few races earlier on the card in the $100,000 Edgewood Presented by Kentucky National Insurance at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course?

The decision: Street Storm will run in the 137th and richest running of the Kentucky Oaks.

“We are going to give it a shot and go for it,” Glick said. “She is improving by the day and you don’t get this opportunity very often.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, who rode Street Storm in turf race at Fair Grounds in February, has been named to ride the gray Stormy Atlantic filly in the Oaks.

Street Storm drew post position 10 for Friday’s race.

The defection of likely Oaks morning line favorite R Heat Lightning played a role in the decision to go to the Oaks.

“When (trainer) Todd Pletcher’s filly went out, we had to take a look at the race again,” Glick said. “We’re going to take a shot. I feel this filly has a lot of potential.”

Right Time Racing also owns Bouquet Booth, who galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break over a sloppy track with Alex Castanon up. Fourth in the Central Bank Ashland (GI) in her most recent start, Bouquet Booth will be ridden by Robby Albarado and break from post position eight.

Glick was asked if he had $2 left in his pocket, which filly would he invest in.

“I honestly don’t know,” Glick said. “Obviously Bouquet Booth is a proven commodity and has competed against Kathmanblu and Lilacs and Lace. She jumped a shadow in the Ashland and in the Rachel Alexandra (at Fair Grounds in February), she was rank. If she can relax, I think she will be a factor.

“They have both trained wonderfully and they are two different types of horses. I’d take the $2 and do a dollar exacta box.”

The two fillies were scheduled to school in the paddock Tuesday afternoon during the fourth race.

DAISY DEVINEJames M. Miller’s Daisy Devine walked the shedrow in Barn 43 one day after breezing three furlongs through the stretch in :35.80.

The Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner came out of her work “very good,” according to trainer Andrew McKeever. “I was going to take her out to train a little bit (today) but with the weather I just decided, nah, not worth it. She worked fast enough yesterday she doesn’t need to do anything today.”

Daisy Devine will again sport blinkers on Friday, as she has for her past four starts.

“When she came to us she was virtually impossible to train without blinkers on,” McKeever said. “You just couldn’t. She’d just see things out of the sky that weren’t there and would spook her. It’s something that give her some security. They’re tiny little half-inch cups. They call them ‘cheaters’ and I keep them on her because she’s comfortable with them. Most horses I wouldn’t bother training them in them every day but she needs them.”

Daisy Devine will jog Wednesday and gallop Thursday, McKeever said.

James Graham has the mount on Daisy Devine, a 20-1 shot on the morning line. Daisy Devine will break from post position nine.

HER SMILE/R HEAT LIGHTNING – Celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Her Smile had a quiet Tuesday morning at Barn 34, merely walking the shedrow in advance of her now-confirmed date in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks.

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who conferred with his owner Monday about her possible run in the nine-furlong headliner, noted Tuesday morning that the green light was in order.

“Bobby wanted to go and we’re a go,” Pletcher said. “My other horse (R Heat Lightning, who was withdrawn from the race Monday when an apparent minor injury was noted) coming out was a factor. That was one less good one (R Heat Lightning was going to be the likely morning line favorite for the Oaks) he had to beat.”

Her Smile will be handled by Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez on Friday. The rider had worked the Virginia-bred daughter of Include on Sunday morning when she covered four furlongs in :50.40 on a “sloppy” track.

In the post position draw Tuesday morning for the Oaks, Her Smile was assigned post position seven in the 13-horse lineup.

R Heat Lightning was “doing well” Tuesday morning according to Pletcher. The trainer was alerted to a problem in the filly’s right front leg Monday following her jog and discovered heat in her knee, a warning sign of possible problems. After conferring with the filly’s owners, the decision was made to withdraw from the race Monday afternoon.

“She (R Heat Lightning) had a good morning,” Pletcher said. “We’re going to take her to Rood & Riddle Clinic tomorrow and hope this is only a minor setback. It is an unfortunate situation. She was doing so well and we wanted this race. But that’s horse racing.”

HOLY HEAVENSDrs. K.K. & Vilasini Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens walked the shed row for the second straight morning after a two-minute mile on Sunday.

“She’ll go back to the track to gallop tomorrow,” trainer Benard Chatters said.

Chatters is starting his first filly in the Oaks, as are the Jayaramans.

A Louisiana native, Chatters has been training for the Jayaramans “for about six months” and cares for “about 20” of their horses.

“This filly, true story, I broke this horse’s maiden at Delta and I told the Doctor, ‘Man, we may make the Oaks with this filly,’ ” Chatters said. “He just kind of laughed and said, ‘I hope so.’ ”

Listed at 50-1 on the morning line, Holy Heavens will break from post position 11 and be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.rflatter@hotmail.comCTORY – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory returned to the track Tuesday morning under trainer Larry Jones

“She schooled in the paddock, galloped, came back and she’s happy,” Jones said. “All is good.”

The gray daughter of Tapit turned in a bullet five-furlong work in :59.20 over the wet track Sunday under jockey Gabriel Saez.

Mike Smith, who has been aboard Joyful Victory in her two victories of 2011, will have the mount Friday and break from post position one. Joyful Victory is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Kentucky Oaks field of 13 3-year-old fillies.

KATHMANBLU – Golden Rod Stakes (GII) winner Kathmanblu went through her routine paces Tuesday morning under exercise rider Jose Lopez, galloping a mile and a half over the sloppy going.

The daughter of 2006 Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat galloped mid-track and appeared to be taking to the footing. That should be no surprise as she’s a stakes winner on dirt and turf, as well as Grade 1-placed on Polytrack in Keeneland’s Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) last time out.

Owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable, Kathmanblu has been favored in each of her past four starts, and five of her past six. She figures to contend for Oaks favoritism in the wake of likely public choice R Heat Lightning being withdrawn from race consideration on Monday.

Kathmanblu will break from post position four under Julien Leparoux and is the 4-1 co-second choice on the Oaks’ morning line.

LILACS AND LACE – James Covello and partners’ Lilacs and Lace galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Eliel DeJesus at Churchill Downs on Tuesday morning. Trainer John Terranova expressed complete satisfaction with the 3-year-old filly’s preparation for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.

"She’s just enjoying it out there. She’s very sharp; she’s very alert; she’s got great energy; and her mind’s right where it needs to be this week,” Terranova said. “She’s just a classy little filly. Hopefully, things go well for her all week.”

Lilacs and Lace, who won the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface last time, has run only once on dirt, an off-the-board finish in her debut at California’s Solano County Fair.

“She’s a really easy moving filly. She gets across any surface pretty nice. I’m not concerned with the surface,” Terranova said. “As far as the dirt goes, until she goes out and proves us wrong and doesn’t handle it or doesn’t run as well on it, right now she’s doing as good as she can do.”

Listed at 12-1 on the morning line, Lilacs and Lace will break from post position two under Javier Castellano.

PLUM PRETTY – Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty walked the shedrow Tuesday morning, a day after she breezed a half-mile in :48.80 over the sloppy track.

Trainer Bob Baffert said the filly came out of her work in good order.

Listed at 5-1 on the morning line for the Oaks, Plum Pretty will break from post position 12 and be ridden by Martin Garcia.

ST. JOHN’S RIVER Dede McGehee’s St. John’s River galloped 1 ¾ miles “and played in the mud” during the Oaks-Derby training session, according to regular exercise rider Robert Wright.

“She looked like a dressage horse jogging back she was so fresh,” Wright said, referring to the way St. John’s River extended her front legs. “She was very happy. She kind of plays like that from time to time.”

Trainer Andy Leggio Jr. was asked to compare St. John’s River to his most successful charge, the Grade I-winning filly and all-time leading Louisiana-bred earner, Happy Ticket.

“St. John’s River strictly wants to go a mile-and-an-eighth, or maybe farther,” Leggio said. “She’s a one-dimensional horse. If I’m going to compare her with Happy Ticket, well, Happy Ticket won at four furlongs, six furlongs, a mile, a mile-and-a-sixteenth, a mile-and-an-eighth, on the turf, on the mud and on a fast track. At this point in time this filly hasn’t done all that yet, but maybe she will.”

Another filly St. John’s River will naturally draw comparisons to is her full sister, the multiple Grade I winner Panty Raid, bred by McGehee.

"She looked like a little old rat,” Leggio said of St. John’s River when she first came to his barn last year. “Small, tiny. But Dede, the owner, told me she’s going to be a good one. Dede sold Panty Raid but she said, ‘I’m not selling this one, she’s going to be my Oaks horse.’ Well, I just let it go in one ear and out the other. But it’s developed into a true story.”

St. John’s River drew the outside post position No. 13 for the Oaks and is 30-1 on the morning line.

SUAVE VOIR FAIREFleur de Lis Racing LLC’s Suave Voir Faire jogged early Tuesday morning at the HighPointe Training Center in La Grange, Ky., and was en route to Churchill Downs by van shortly after, trainer Speedy Smithwick reported at 1 p.m.

“She’s on the way now,” he said. “They had to go on (U.S.) 42 because of a wreck on 71, but she should be here (by 1:30 p.m.).”

Smithwick was already at Churchill Downs, where he had readied Suave Voir Fare’s new home in Barn 43, Stall 4.

The Suave filly drew post position No. 5 for the Kentucky Oaks and was projected at 50-1 by morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.

“I think it’s a good post,” Smithwick said. “She broke real good last time and she ran up with them into the first turn. Then she gets lazy for a quarter-mile or so and makes one run. Hopefully the blinkers will help her lay a little bit closer.”

Suave Voir Fare has been outfitted with blinkers (described by Smithwick as “little French ones with holes”) only once before, two starts back, finishing third in a two-turn allowance at Fair Grounds. The equipment change was suggested by Smithwick’s cousin, Andrew McKeever, trainer of Oaks contender Daisy Devine and the trainer of record for Suave Voir Faire for her two races in New Orleans.

“He thought they helped her,” Smithwick said.

SUMMER SOIREE – Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree galloped a mile over the sloppy track Tuesday morning during the training period reserved for Derby and Oaks horses.

Assistant trainer Dave Rock accompanied the filly, ridden by David Nava, to the track.

Listed at 5-1 on the morning line, Summer Soiree will break from post position three and be ridden by Gabriel Saez.

ZAZU – Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss’ classy gray filly Zazu was airborne from California Tuesday morning aboard a flight that had left Ontario Airport east of Los Angeles at approximately 4 a.m. The Tex Sutton charter held several California stakes horses bound for assignments this weekend at Churchill Downs, including the 3-year-old gelding Comma to the Top, who has a scheduled run in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Zazu, by the Kentucky sire Tapit, arrived in Louisville at around 11:30 a.m. and arrived at Churchill Downs at 1 p.m. She is housed in Barn 36 in one of its first three stalls.

Trainer John Sadler and the Mosses were scheduled to fly to Kentucky on the owners’ private jet Tuesday afternoon.

In the post position draw for the Oaks on Tuesday morning, Zazu was assigned post position six in the 13-horse field.  She’ll be handled in the nine-furlong headliner by top California rider Joel Rosario.