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Fair Grounds Oaks top four headed to Kentucky Oaks
Once again, the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) is likely to serve as a preview of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) five weeks later on April 30.
On Saturday morning, the connections of the first four horses under the wire in Friday's 44th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks all admitted that the Kentucky Oaks is their next planned target, and the fact that four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks underlines the strong connection between the two events.
As the half-length heroine of Friday's Fair Grounds Oaks, QUIET TEMPER (Quiet American) is the only filly with a chance to extend that win parlay to five-out-of-six, and trainer Dale Romans updated her status during training hours Saturday morning.
"She looks good," Romans said. "She came out of the race fine and she will leave for Kentucky Monday morning. She's a really good filly. I've only been fortunate enough to saddle one other filly in the Kentucky Oaks. Her name was Sweeping Story and she finished third behind Silverbulletday in 1999. I'm looking forward to going back there with this one."
CHAMPAGNE D'ORO (Medaglia d'Oro) made the pace in all but the last strides of Friday's test at almost 13-1 before being collared by the winner, but gamely held the place, finishing a neck to the good of the dead-heated third-place finishers.
"Everything is good with us this morning. We're looking at the Kentucky Oaks for her next start," trainer Eric Guillot replied when asked what the plans were for the future. "I think leaving from the 10-hole cost us the race. I wish those two heads (Friday) finished the other way around. But that's horseracing. It can be very stressful if you let it get to you.
"I got in this game to have fun," he added. "I didn't get in it to make a lot of money. If you let it get to you, you could die of a heart attack before you get to 50 years old. I just don't let it get to me."
SHEER BEAUTY (Mizzen Mast) and SEEKING THE TITLE (Seeking the Gold) finished on even terms for the show spot in Friday's Oaks and both appear headed to Louisville, Kentucky.
"Absolutely," said trainer Bernie Flint when asked if Sheer Beauty was going to be pointed to the Kentucky Oaks. "That's home to us and Louisville is where we're headed. She was flying at the end (Friday). That was a good race for me. She wants to go longer. The extra ground (sixteenth of a mile) will really help us."
"That's our plan," Dallas Stewart, Seeking the Title's trainer, said on Saturday morning when asked if his charge would be pointed for the Kentucky Oaks. "We're looking forward to going to Louisville (and the Kentucky Oaks) with her, and everything is OK with her this morning."
JODY SLEW (Slew City Slew) won the first two legs of Fair Grounds' sophomore filly series when taking the Tiffany Lass S. and Silverbulletday S. (G3), but could do no better than seventh in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She came into the race with an excuse, though, as she missed training after becoming cast in her stall. Despite her finish Friday, the bay lass may still be pointed to the Kentucky Oaks.
"She wasn't quite ready today," trainer Bret Calhoun said immediately after Friday's race. "We just wanted to keep her on schedule. Hopefully, we'll continue to move forward with her."