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Kentucky Oaks 137 Update
KENTUCKY OAKS FUTURE WAGER / POOL ENDS WITH KATHMANBLU AS SOLID FAVORITE – The single pool of Churchill Downs’ 2011 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) looked very much like a wide open affair heading into the three-day betting pool, but Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stable’s Kathmanblu (#11) turned the race for the role of favorite in the pool into a runaway.
And she is a clear favorite to win the 137th running of the Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and the winner’s share of its record $1 million purse on Friday, May 6 at Churchill Downs.
The Ken McPeek-trained Kathmanblu ended up as a clear 7-2 favorite among 24 betting interests in the March 11-13 pool. A $2 win wager placed on the daughter of 2006 Kentucky Derby (GI) runner-up Bluegrass Cat will return $9.40 if she wins the Kentucky Oaks.
Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’ Zazu (#23), winner of the Las Virgenes (GI) and runner-up in the recent Santa Anita Oaks (GI), and Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory (#10), an 8 3/4-length winner of the Honeybee (GIII) on Saturday at Oaklawn Park, were co-second choices at 7-1. J. Paul Robsham Stable’s R. Heat Lightning (#16), winner of the recent Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream Park, and the mutuel field (#24), which included all 3-year-old fillies other than the 23 individual horses in the KOFW pool, were co-second choices at 9-1.
Kentucky Oaks had fans wagered $92,902 during the three-day pool, including $29,098 in exacta bets, when the Oaks Future betting concluded Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. (EDT).
SOUTH (Arkansas, Louisiana) / JOYFUL VICTORY STREAKS INTO KENTUCKY OAKS PICTURE FOR RESURGENT JONES – Saturday’s $100,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park attracted a strong field that included four fillies that were regarded highly enough to be betting interests in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, but the 1 1/16-mile race turned into a one-horse contest.
The gray filly Joyful Victory, an Oaks Future bet wagering interest running for the first time since a fifth-place finish behind unbeaten champion Awesome Feather in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Fillies (GI) at Churchill Downs, rolled to an easy 8 ¾-length romp over rivals that included fellow Oaks Future bet fillies Holy Heavens (runner-up), Salty Strike (fourth) and Rigoletta (sixth).
The romp by Fox Hill Farm’s Ontario-bred daughter of Tapit ushered trainer J. Larry Jones back into the 3-year-old spotlight. The native of Hopkinsville, Ky. returned from a one-year retirement early this year and finds himself training what appears to be a major contender for the Kentucky Oaks, a race Jones won in 2008 with Brereton Jones’ champion Proud Spell.
“It was a great race for her and a tremendous race for a first one back,” said Jones. “I think she got a little tired at the end, but that’s good.”
Jones will point Joyful Victory to the $300,000 Fantasy (GII) at Oaklawn on April 10, and then to the Kentucky Oaks. Jones and wife Cindy have saddled the last four Honeybee winners.
Jones scratched Summer Soiree, another Kentucky Oaks Future Wager filly, from the Honeybee.
FAIR GROUNDS OAKS PURSE INCREASED – The richest prep for the richest running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks will be run at Fair Grounds. The New Orleans track has announced the March 26 running of the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) will carry a record purse of $500,000.
The purse for the race was increased by $100,000. Four of the last six winners of the Kentucky Oaks have prepped in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Those dual Oaks winners include Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (2009), Proud Spell (2008), Summerly (2005) and Ashado (2004).
FLORIDA / WYOMIA TAKES SUNCOAST, DELIGHTFUL MARY RETURNS MONDAY AT OCALA – Canada-based stakes winner Wyomia, a Kentucky Oaks Future Wager filly last seen in a sixth-place run behind More Than Real in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) last fall at Churchill Downs, returned to action on Saturday and scored a narrow victory in the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes in her 2011 racing debut.
The Daniel Vella-trained daughter of Vindication won by a head over Devilish Lady under jockey Freddie Lenclud, while Kentucky Oaks Future bet fillies Miss Smarty Pants finished sixth and Royal Delta came home ninth. The win came in Wyomia’s first race over a traditional dirt surface.
Another Oaks Future filly, John C. Oxley’s Delightful Mary, will race for the first time since a third-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile fillies when she competes in Monday’s filly division of the $100,000 Ocala Breeders Sales Championshps.
Delightful Mary defeated Wyomia last fall in the Mazarine (GIII) at Woodbine prior to her strong run in the Breeders’ Cup, her first race over traditional dirt. The Limehouse filly is trained by Mark Casse.
The Ocala races are limited to horses purchased at Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company.
Meanwhile, Dynamic Holiday scored her fourth consecutive victory – with each win coming over a different track – when she won Sunday’s $150,000 Hereomesthebride (GIII) on the Gulfstream Park turf.
Ramon Dominguez was aboard the Graham Motion trainee notched wins at Keeneland, Calder and Tampa Bay Downs in her previous races. It was the third consecutive stakes victory for Dynamic Holiday.
OAKS 137 NOTES – Trainer Mike Puype said a campaign at one-turn distances for Santa Anita Oaks (GI) winner Turbulent Descent will likely start in Kentucky. Puype said he’s looking at the Grade II Beaumont Stakes as a likely start for his two-time Grade I winner. ... A filly with a Kentucky Oaks pedigree scored her first career victory on Friday at Fair Grounds. Juddmonte Farm’s Classy Touch, a homebred daughter of Maria’s Mon out of 1999 Kentucky Oaks winner Flute, won a mile and 70 yard maiden race for Hall of fame trainer Bill Mott that had originally scheduled to be run on grass.