The $3,000 rags-to-riches story of the 2012 Oaks lineup Amie’s Dini jogged a mile and galloped 1 3/8 miles this morning after the renovation break following a day off Sunday. Arkansas-based trainer Ron Moquett said the morning’s warmer temperatures were right up their alley.
"We’re from the South,” he joked. “We live for the heat.”
Co-owner Mike Walker was on hand this morning to watch his star filly and noted, “This filly has been a real thrill. Up to this point, she really hasn’t been pushed on at all.”
Walker takes pride in his frugal sales purchases, citing such other success stories as Tourmaline, a $2,500 purchase who earned $266,000 and Jill Marie, a $1500 bargain who earned $175,000.
“It’s out of necessity I go for the less expensive horses,” Walker said. “We’re just everyday people who love the racing game.”
Amie’s Dini is named for Walker’s granddaughter Amie, and gets the Dini (pronounced Deanie) from sire Bandini. Jon Court will have the Oaks mount aboard the Martha Washington Stakes winner and Fantasy (GII) runner-up.
AND WHY NOT – Helen K. Groves’ And Why Not, who turned in a bullet half-mile workout in :46.80 Saturday, returned to the track at Churchill Downs Monday morning after a day off.
The daughter of Street Cry jogged two miles under exercise rider Peter Brette and walked through the paddock in preparation for a scheduled start in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (GI).
And Why Not, who finished second behind On Fire Baby in the Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs last fall, has run only once this year, finishing seventh behind Grace Hall in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) on March 31.
“She came out of that race in good order. It wasn’t a track that suited her. She worked the other day as good as any horse worked here,” trainer Michael Matz said. “And the last race she ran at Churchill she got beat a half-length by On Fire Baby.”
BELIEVE YOU CAN – Brereton Jones’ homebred Believe You Can was in tip-top shape the day after her bullet five-eighths work in :58.40, according to trainer Larry Jones, who gushed about both the breeze and her demeanor 24 hours later.
“Believe You Can is really good and we’re really excited,” Larry Jones said. “She matched identical to what Proud Spell did coming in so we feel like Proud Citizen fillies that work in fifty-eight-and-two are supposed to win the Oaks!
“We’re very happy with her and she’s always been a better workhorse than him (stablemate and Kentucky Derby contender Mark Valeski). Some people had her as fast as fifty-seven-and-four but the big thing is that today she’s really good, so we won’t do a lot with her going in. We’ll just have some easy days, go to the gate, go to the paddock, gallop a bit, and enjoy it.”
BROADWAY’S ALIBI – E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Broadway’s Alibi jogged once around the 1 1/8-mile track at Palm Meadows Training Center Monday morning.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Kentucky Oaks (GI) contender will be shipped from the Boynton Beach, Fla., training facility early Tuesday morning.
Broadway’s Alibi has won her past four starts, including victories in the Forward Gal (GII) at Gulfstream and the Comely (GII) at Aqueduct, since finishing second in her debut last summer at Delaware Park.
COLONIAL EMPRESS – The Honeybee Stakes (GIII) third-place finisher galloped a mile and one-half this morning under exercise rider Rudy Colon for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The maiden could give the Lukas barn its fifth Kentucky Oaks victory, and its first since 1990. Lukas won the Oaks in 1982 with Blush With Pride, 1984 with Lucky Lucky Lucky, 1989 with Open Mind and 1990 with Seaside Attraction.
Woody Stephens is the only trainer to saddle five Kentucky Oaks winners.
No rider has been named on the daughter of 2003 Kentucky Derby runner-up Empire Maker.
EDEN’S MOON/JEMIMA’S PEARL – Gillian Campbell, R Group Management Ltd. and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Jemima’s Pearl walked the shedrow Monday morning, a day after breezing five furlongs in company with her stablemate, the Kentucky Derby-bound colt Bodemeister.
Kaleem Shah’s Eden’s Moon jogged on the track. She breezed Saturday and walked on Sunday.
“They look good,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “They came out of their works well. So far, everything is good.”
GRACE HALL – Trainer Tony Dutrow sent Grace Hall to the track at Palm Meadows Training Center Monday morning after breezing a half mile in :52.10 over a sloppy track the day before.
“She’s doing good. She went out and jogged with a pony,” said Dutrow, whose filly likely will be favored in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks on the strength of her 6 ½-length triumph in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) last time out. “She leaves Palm Meadows (Tuesday morning) at 4:30.”
Owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group, Grace Hall will accompany Kentucky Derby hopefuls El Padrino, Gemologist and Take Charge Indy on the flight from Florida.
HARD NOT TO LIKE – Trainer Gail Cox continues to be happy with how Hard Not to Like is training toward Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.
“She galloped a mile and a half this morning and I’m very happy with the way she is training. She’ll head to Louisville early tomorrow [Tuesday],” Cox said from her base at Woodbine Race Course in Ontario, Canada.
The van ride is expected to take about 10 ½ hours. Cox said the filly probably will go to the track at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning, depending on how she takes the ride.
KARLOVY VARY – Trainer Rusty Arnold was in a similar spot two years ago coming into the Kentucky Oaks with an Alex Campbell Jr. owned and bred daughter of Dynaformer who was coming off a big effort in the Central Bank Ashland (GI) at Keeneland.
In 2010, the filly was It’s Tea Time who ran a fast-closing second to Evening Jewel in the Ashland. This year it is Karlovy Vary, a wire-to-wire winner of the Ashland.
“It’s Tea Time had not run on dirt before the Oaks,” Arnold said of the filly who finished ninth behind Blind Luck in the Oaks. “Karlovy Vary ran here in the Golden Rod last year and she had the 10 hole and was wide most of the way.”
With exercise rider Marty Metcalf up, Karlovy Vary galloped a mile Monday morning at her usual 6:15 time. Arnold said the filly would gallop a mile and a half daily the rest of the week and school in the paddock Tuesday afternoon.
The Golden Rod is the only dirt race on the past performances of Karlovy Vary.
“Because of her pedigree, she started long on the turf, but she had trained on dirt a lot before she ran” Arnold said of Karlovy Vary, who ran third in her debut at Saratoga and then broke her maiden at Keeneland prior to the Golden Rod.
“She has come a long way. She was a little bit intimidated last year, but she is a different horse now. She breezes well on the dirt and her work here Saturday was good. I can give you a lot of opinions, but the facts will come out Friday.”
MILANIA – Olympia Star Inc.’s Milania, fourth in the seven-furlong Beaumont (GII) at Keeneland, worked a half-mile in :48.20 over the all-weather surface at Arlington Park. The Bernardini filly, out of 1998 Kentucky Oaks heroine and multiple Grade I winner Keeper Hill, remains under consideration for the Kentucky Oaks, trainer Gennadi Dorochenko said.
“We’ll see tomorrow,” Dorochenko said. “You ask so many questions, like FBI agent.”
The Russian-born Dorochenko made headlines across the country by winning the $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII) on April 1 with Hero of Order, who was 109-1.
OAKS LILY – Jonathan Rey, Javier Sarmiento and Dante Zanelli Jr.’s Oaks Lily galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Patricia Eldridge during the Oaks and Derby training session.
“She looked great, actually,” said Zanelli, the bloodstock agent who co-owns the filly and is managing her preparations this week. “It was the best gallop she’s had since she’s been here.”
Oaks Lily has no graded stakes earnings but, barring any surprise entries from fillies not known to be under consideration, needs some defections, to make the gate.
ON FIRE BABY – Anita Cauley’s On Fire Baby came to the track at 6 a.m. Monday under jockey Joe Johnson. The three-time graded-stakes winner visited the paddock and then galloped 1 ½ miles over a fast track.
On Fire Baby is traveling a path blazed in 2007 by her half sister High Heels, who finished third behind eventual Belmont States (GI) winner Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks. Cauley bred and owns both fillies with Gary Hartlage as the trainer.
One difference leading up to the Oaks is High Heels had two five-eighths works before the Run for the Lilies here and On Fire Baby has had two seven-eighths works.
“High Heels ran in the Fantasy and On Fire Baby didn’t,” Hartlage said of the difference.
Cauley made the call to come into the Oaks off a victory in the March 10 Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn.
“Either race (the Fantasy or Arkansas Derby) would have been pretty significant and to come back in three weeks would have been asking a lot,” Cauley said. “I wanted to have a fresh horse for the Oaks and as soon as I made the decision I felt fine with it.”
On Fire Baby has accomplished more at this stage of her career than had High Heels. In addition to the Honeybee victory, On Fire Baby won the Pocahonas (GII) and Golden Rod (GII) here last fall.
“With High Heels, there was not as much drama as with this horse,” Cauley said. “She had broken her maiden, won an allowance race and was second in the Honeybee. The Fantasy was always the goal with her.”
SACRISTY – Trainer Wayne Catalano had a busy morning bouncing between Churchill Downs and Keeneland. Meanwhile, his Old Hat Stakes (GIII) winner galloped a mile and one-half under the Twin Spires. A two-time sprint winner who has yet to extend around two turns in six starts, Sacristy’s first Oaks hurdle will be the 1 1/8 mile distance.
“We’re going to lead her over and try her,” Catalano said. “The distance is a question mark for me and everyone else. But we’re taking a shot. We scoped her and she has a nice, big throat, and gets a lot of air. That helps for distance.”
Catalano said he also will enter Coalport in the American Turf Presented by RAM (GII), as well as Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf (GII) winner Stephanie’s Kitten in the Edgewood Stakes. Both races are Friday.
SUMMER APPLAUSE – Gillian Campbell, R Group Management and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Summer Applause jogged one mile early in the morning for trainer Bret Calhoun.
“I think everything’s on ‘go,” Calhoun said. “She doesn’t need anything but to get to the race now.”
Summer Applause last worked on April 20 and didn’t visit the track Sunday. However, Calhoun said his filly is already completely fit and didn’t need anything more than light exercise this week.
Both of Calhoun’s biggest career wins – two $1million scores at the 2010 Breeders’ Cup World Championships – were with horses whose so-called “missed” training raised eyebrows. Chamberlain Bridge didn’t post a work for nearly a month after his prior start before taking the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII), while Dubai Majesty breezed over the turf 10 days out in her only official work leading up to the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) on the dirt.
“Those worked out OK,” Calhoun said. “She hasn’t been mentioned much but I wouldn’t trade with anybody.”
YARA – Peras International’s Yara galloped one mile at the Trackside Training Center under exercise rider Mario Diaz as soon as the track opened at 6 a.m.
“It was easy,” trainer Jose Garoffalo said. “Very good. Everything’s good so far.”
Yara will gallop early again Tuesday before vanning to Churchill Downs.
“They’re coming to pick up the filly here at 11 a.m. so we should be there about 11:30 a.m.,” Garoffalo said.
Yara will reside in Barn 43, Stall 12.
LOOKS LIKE PARTLY SUNNY SKIES, MID-80s FOR OAKS & DERBY – The early Kentucky Derby Day forecast for Louisville from the National Weather Service calls for partly sunny skies and a high of 84 degrees and a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Here’s the day-by-day weather outlook:
POST POSITION DRAW
KENTUCKY DERBY: The Post Position Draw for the Kentucky Derby will be held Wednesday, May 2 from 5-6 p.m. ET in the Secretariat Lounge on the second floor of the Clubhouse. The event will be televised live nationally on NBC Sports Network and local affiliates. Media credentials must be displayed for appropriate access. In 2010, the Kentucky Derby Post Position Draw reverted back to a traditional “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from in the starting gate. The field for the Kentucky Derby will be limited to 20 horses with preference given to horses with the most graded stakes earnings. Entries close Wednesday, May 2 at 10 a.m. ET. Once the post position draw is complete, horsemen will be available for comment in a designated area for media.
KENTUCKY OAKS: The Post Position Draw for the Kentucky Oaks will be held Tuesday, May 1 in Churchill Downs’ Racing Office at 11 a.m. ET. Post positions for the Kentucky Oaks are determined by a traditional “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a number pill to determine which post a horse will break from the starting gate. The field for the Kentucky Oaks will be limited to 14 horses with preference given to the horses with the most graded stakes earnings.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
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