Racing News

Ria Antonia set to clash with 'Vicar' in Risen Star

  • Ria Antonia (left) was awarded the BC Juvenile Fillies upon the disqualification of She's a Tiger (Breeders' Cup Ltd. Photo)

As always, it's an intriguing scenario when a filly is matched against "the boys." Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra -- very familiar to fans of Fair Grounds -- did it when she parlayed her 2009 Fair Grounds Oaks win to Grade 1 scores in the Kentucky Oaks and then on against male rivals in the Preakness, Haskell Invitational and Woodward later that year.

On February 22, guests of the Crescent City oval and fans of the Fair Grounds simulcast signal are on a course to witness that female-versus-male challenge again when Loooch Racing Stable et al.'s Ria Antonia is set to meet Ken and Sarah Ramsey's dominating Lecomte hero Vicar's in Trouble and others in Fair Grounds' Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes on Louisiana Derby Preview Day.

Ria Antonia has not raced since her adjudged victory in Santa Anita's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last November 2, but after arriving in New Orleans January 11, the well-made daughter of Rockport Harbor breezed a half-mile in :49 3/5 January 18 and will breeze four furlongs once again Saturday.

"She loves it here," trainer Jeremiah Englehart's assistant Elizabeth Dobles said during training hours Friday morning.

Dobles, a 23-year-old miss from the Finger Lakes area of New York State, has been getting on Ria Antonia and handling her since she came to Englehart's barn last fall.

"The best day of training we've had here so far was yesterday," she added, "and today was just as good. She's on a schedule where we breeze her once a week and then walk, jog and gallop successively in the days after her works.

"'Ria' was just an average filly when she came to us," Dobles said, "but about a week before the (October 5) Frizette at Aqueduct last fall (where she finished fifth) she started to show us what kind of filly we had. Then we went out to California for the Breeders' Cup and she ran a very good race there (finishing an impeded second by a nose before being awarded the victory.)

"She kind of takes to anything," Dobles said when asked if the unusually cold weather in New Orleans lately had affected the filly. "It was warm in California when we went there last fall and since it's gotten so cold here at Fair Grounds lately she enjoys that, too.

"Two weeks after California we gave her about 30 days off in Florida," Dobles said. "I went to Hong Kong with our horse King Kreesa (for Sha Tin's Hong Kong Mile) but I got back with 'Ria' at Belmont and we breezed her three-eighths there (:36 3/5 January 5) before coming down here.

"She's really very fresh right now," Dobles said, "but she's usually a laid back kind of filly. When she first goes out on the track she starts playing a little bit, but once she really starts going she's all business."

"I've been working for Jeremiah for four years, now. When I first started exercising horses I thought I wanted to be a jockey, but now I realize I'd much rather be an assistant working with the horses and communicating with them. It doesn't matter to me whether they are worth $4,000 or $4 million. I treat them all the same, but naturally there's a lot more pressure with a horse like her."

"Jeremiah will be coming down here February 8," Dobles concluded.

Los Alamitos Futurity Added to 2014-15 'Road to the Kentucky Derby' Series

The $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity (Grade I) has been added to the list of races that comprise the 2014-15 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” The series of 35 select races – 19 “Prep Season” races and 16 “Championship Series” races – will determine which horses qualify to the 141st running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby.

Global View Nips Storming Inti at Wire to Win 23rd Running of Grade II American Turf

Glen Hill Farm's Global View caught Storming Inti in the closing strides

Midnight Lucky Romps in 28th Running of Grade I Humana Distaff

Midnight Lucky, making her first start in more than 11 months, took the lead out of the gate

Coffee Clique Catches Dame Marie Late to Win 29th Running of Grade II Churchill Distaff Turf Mile

Coffee Clique squeezed through an opening along the hedge

California Chrome Wins America’s Greatest Race

164,906 fans pack historic Churchill Downs

Updates Powered by

Visit brisnet.com for expert handicapping, picks and analysis Derby Week and all year long

Derby Stories

Lindsay & Els Chicago, IL

First time at the Oaks so that's why we have these crazy hats on, shaped like cheese hats and painted pink in honor of Bright Pink, which is a great charity.
Paula's picking California Chrome

Kentucky Derby 140 presented by Yum! - The Race

Kentucky Derby 140 - Road to the Derby

Kentucky Derby 140 Intro

Around the Downs - The Stables

The Race

54 Photos

GET TO KNOW THE KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER CALIFORNIA CHROME (PRE-RACE BIO)

California Chrome is attempting to become only the fourth California-bred, Kentucky Derby winner in history and the first since Decidedly in 1962.