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In Tune makes stakes debut in Gulfstream Oaks
Saturday's Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks lost its favorite when Davona Dale and Forward Gal winner Onlyforyou fatally broke down in a recent workout. Trainer Todd Pletcher will instead send out the promising but untested In Tune in the 1 1/8-mile test.
A debut maiden winner at 6 1/2 furlongs on January 12, In Tune stretched out successfully to two turns with a 2 3/4-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile allowance event on February 27. The gray daughter of Unbridled's Song led all the way in both races at Gulfstream Park and will likely be forwardly placed Saturday beneath regular rider Javier Castellano. The well-bred filly is a half-sister to a pair of stakes winners and her dam, the Affirmed mare Wichitoz, counts champion Rubiano and stakes winner Tap Your Heels, the dam of Tapit, as half-siblings.
Davona Dale runner-up House Rules must be considered a top contender in the eight-horse field. Conditioned by Allen Jerkens, the Distorted Humor filly posted a 5 3/4-length score over maiden special weight rivals two starts back. The dark bay miss will retain the services of Alex Solis.
Grade 2-placed Penwith, fourth when making her 2014 bow in the Davona Dale, is also entered. Luis Saez rides for Kiaran McLaughlin. Joint Return invades from New York for John Servis following a 4 1/4-length upset win in the February 1 Busher. She extended her win streak to three while making her stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile race on Aqueduct's inner track and Kendrick Carmouche will be in for the ride.
Whomping Willow. who exits a runner-up finish in the March 9 Any Limit, will make her second stakes attempt for Dale Romans. Expected longshots America, Camille Claudel and Holiday Magic complete the field.
As part of the "Road to the Kentucky Oaks" series, the Gulfstream Oaks is worth 170 points to the top four finishers (100-40-20-10) in terms of qualifying for the Kentucky Oaks on May 2.