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Inglorious inherits likely favoritism in Fair Grounds Oaks
With the defection of Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) winner Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat) to the April 9 Ashland S. (G1), INGLORIOUS (Hennessy) has become the top draw for Saturday's $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). The bay lass finished well in the Rachel Alexandra to take second and could return to the winner's circle in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile test over the New Orleans oval.
Inglorious was making just her third lifetime start when going in the Rachel Alexandra on February 19. The Josie Carroll charge actually began her racing career north of the border and easily captured her initial two races at Woodbine. She stretched out from a 1 3/4-length score in the six-furlong Fanfreluche S. to dominate the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie S. by 5 3/4 lengths in early December. The three-year-old miss will keep regular rider Chantal Sutherland in the saddle while seeking her first graded win in the Fair Grounds Oaks. (Photo Courtesy of Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)
DAISY DEVINE (Kafwain) could make some noise in the race following her neck second in the Silverbulletday S. in January. The Andrew McKeever trainee showed her dislike for the synthetic Polytrack at Keeneland in her career bow in October, but quickly earned an initial victory when going against maiden claiming rivals at Fair Grounds next out. She progressed through the ranks, taking an allowance on December 30, then returned for her stakes debut in the Silverbulletday and just fell short to Grade 3 winner Bouquet Booth (Flower Alley). James Graham was aboard for her maiden and the Silverbulletday, and retains the mount on Saturday.
LITTLE MISS HOLLY (Maria's Mon) immediately took to the Fair Grounds dirt when breaking her maiden by six lengths on December 9 and stepped up to take on stakes company in the Silverbulletday for her next start. Trained by Steve Margolis, who has also entered optional claiming heroine SWITCHING GEARS (Tapit), the chestnut lass was just a length back of Daisy Devine on the wire and has room for improvement following a two-month break. Edgar Prado has the call on Little Miss Holly, while Shaun Bridgmohan will take the reins on Switching Gears.
While Snow Fall will be staying on the dirt, NIJI'S GRAND GIRL (Candy Ride [Arg]) returns to the main track after taking on the grassy Florida Oaks last out. The Kenny McPeek runner ran well to be third on that day but she'll be going for the big prize here. Also in with a chance is GRANDACIOUS (Grand Slam), who regressed badly to be a distant sixth in the Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park last out. Prior to that one, though, the Bret Calhoun-conditioned bay was third in the Delta Downs Princess (G3), just a neck back of Niji's Grand Girl in second, and runner-up in the My Trusty Cat S.
SNOW FALL (War Front) would have been an interesting new prospect in the Fair Grounds Oaks, having just broken her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths on February 25, but the Michael Stidham pupil spiked a temperature on Sunday and will be scratched out of the race, according to the Daily Racing Form.
The Fair Grounds Oaks field is completed by Rachel Alexandra sixth-placer TAPIT DANCER (Tapit) and maiden winners TOURMALINE (Kafwain) and ST. JOHN'S RIVER (Include).