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Some new shooters joined the Kentucky Oaks (G1) picture following last weekend's preps, and they did so in dazzling fashion. PLUM PRETTY (Medaglia d'Oro) and SUMMER SOIREE (War Front) never encountered a single threat in their picture perfect wins, while DAISY DEVINE (Kafwain) offered a slight upset in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2).
Grade 1 winner JAYCITO's (Victory Gallop) status for the April 9 Santa Anita Derby (G1) was still on hold Friday morning.
"I'm going to have a talk today with (owner) Ahmed Zayat and then we're going to decide," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. "We have to work over the weekend. A lot depends on the work whether we stay here or ship (for the Wood Memorial [G1] at Aqueduct, also on April 9)."
FLORIDA / SOLDAT DRAWS RAIL AGAIN, BUT STILL STRONG FLORIDA DERBY FAVORITE – Fountain of Youth (Grade II) winner Soldat drew the rail post and was assigned the role of favorite in a strong field of eight 3-year-olds entered for Sunday’s 60th running of the $1 million Florida Derby (GI) at Gulfstream Park.
FLORIDA / PLETCHER’S R HEAT LIGHTNING HEADS GULFSTREAM PARK OAKS – The romp by Paul R. Robsham Stables’ R Heat Lightning in last month’s Davona Dale (Grade II) was one of the more dazzling efforts by a 3-year-old filly at Gulfstream Park this winter and made the Todd Pletcher-trained filly one of the favorites for next month’s 137th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs.
From three stakes races last weekend, four horses -- PANTS ON FIRE (Jump Start), TWICE THE APPEAL (Successful Appeal), ANIMAL KINGDOM (Leroidesanimaux [Brz]) and DECISIVE MOMENT (With Distinction) -- vaulted into the top 10 on the graded earnings list, but none appear likely to make a serious impact in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1).
We will have a race of significance this Sunday in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1), with at least four major contenders receiving their final tune-up. The Derby is five weeks from Saturday.
With Hutcheson S. (G2) winner Flashpoint (Pomeroy) entered in the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on Sunday, TRAVELIN MAN (Trippi) will likely inherit the favorite's role in the $150,000 Swale S. (G2) on the undercard. The seven-furlong test for sophomores only drew six runners and will start the stakes action off at Gulfstream Park as the 3RD race on the program.
Comma to the Top has been removed from the roster of wagering interests for this week’s third and final pool of Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (“KDFW”) after trainer Peter Miller confirmed to a track official that the horse will not be entered in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I).
SOLDAT (War Front), who capitalized on a rail draw to go wire-to-wire in the February 26 Fountain of Youth S. (G2), has once again landed in the rail post as the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Sunday's $1 million Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park. This time, however, the Kiaran McLaughlin pupil will have to adapt to a classier pace rival in Hutcheson S. (G2) romper FLASHPOINT (Pomeroy), who promises to flash speed from the far outside post 8 in his two-turn debut.
SUMMER SOIREE (War Front), who romped by 10 3/4 lengths in last Saturday's Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway Park, has been bought by Team Valor International and will be pointed to the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1), it was announced Thursday.
Brereton C. Jones, his son Bret Jones and the Wahoo Partners LLC sold the filly for an undisclosed sum.
After two less than successful trips in the three-year-old series at Oaklawn Park, J P'S GUSTO (Successful Appeal) will now team with the meet's leading jockey, Cliff Berry, in the final leg -- the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 16.
The two got reacquainted Thursday morning with a bullet five-furlong breeze in :58 3/5 over the fast track for trainer Joe Petalino. J P's Gusto galloped out in 1:12 2/5, which was the fastest six-furlong time of the morning as well. Berry had also worked him prior to the Rebel S. (G2), but the mount was given to Ramon Dominguez for that race.