- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
- Derby Experience
- Plan Your Visit
R Heat Lightning tops Gulfstream Oaks
R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi), a smashing 7 1/4-length winner of the February 26 Davona Dale S. (G2), tops a field of seven three-year-old fillies in Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (G2) at 1 1/8 miles. The Todd Pletcher pupil figures to be a strong favorite in her final tune-up for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6.
A four-length winner of the Spinaway S. (G1) last year, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) runner-up kicked off her three-year-old season with a disappointing fourth as the favorite in the Forward Gal S. (G2) on January 30. She rebounded with style four weeks later in the Davona Dale, putting her rivals away with a sizzling turn of foot into the stretch, and received the first triple-digit Speed rating of her career with a 105. Velazquez returns to the saddle aboard the bay lass.
Unbeaten IT'S TRICKY (Mineshaft) will make her graded debut in the Gulfstream Oaks. A debut maiden winner on Aqueduct's main track in late November, the Kiaran McLaughlin runner moved to the inner oval for her next two outings, posting a 4 3/4-length decision over allowance/optional claiming rivals before romping by an eight-length margin in the February 20 Busher S. She will step up to face tougher company Saturday with regular pilot Alex Solis.
Multiple stakes-placed BESO GRANDE (Mass Media) will venture back into stakes waters for trainer Stephen Dimauro following a one-length score over entry-level allowance rivals. TRIUME (E Dubai), who exits a fourth in the grassy Herecomesthebride S. (G3), is slated to make her dirt bow for conditioner James Jerkens. SALARY DRIVE (Mizzen Mast) will try stakes company following a tally over allowance/optional claiming rivals on March 6.
Maiden winners ISLAND SCHOOL (A.P. Indy) and KINDERSLEY (Bernardini) complete the Oaks line-up.