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Kentucky Oaks 137 Update for April 18
EAST (Maryland, New York) / POSSIBLE OAKS FAVORITE R HEAT LIGHTNING SHARP IN FINAL NEW YORK WORK, HEADS TO CHURCHILL DOWNS ON MONDAY – E. Paul Robsham Stables’ R Heat Lightning, the possible favorite for the 137th and richest running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on May 6 at Churchill Downs, turned heads with a “bullet” half-mile work on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The Todd Pletcher-trained daughter of Trippi covered four furlongs over the Belmont training track in :47.50 in her first work since her April 2 romp in the Gulfstream Oaks (GII) at Gulfstream Park. The move was the fastest of 94 at the distance.
“It was the standard effort for her and we were pleased,” said Pletcher assistant Jonathan Thomas.
R Heat Lightning is set to join stablemate Uncle Mo, a contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), on a Monday flight to Kentucky. She is expected to arrive at Pletcher’s Churchill Downs barn around 9:15 a.m. (EDT).
MIDWEST (Illinois, Kentucky) / GRADE I WINNERS TURBULENT DESCENT, TELL A KELLY RETURN SUNDAY IN KEENELAND’S BEAUMONT – Heavily favored Turbulent Descent blew past pacesetter Gran Lioness at the head of the stretch and pulled away to an easy five-length victory in Sunday’s $150,000 Beaumont (GII) at Keeneland.
Regular rider David Flores was in the saddle as the Mike Puype-trained filly won for the fifth time in six races and raised her career earnings to $618,350. She covered the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet in 1:26.12.
Honey Chile rallied for the second spot and Coax Liberty finished third.
Puype indicated Turbulent Descent’s next start would likely be the one-mile Acorn (GI) at Belmont Park and she would continue to focus on one-turn distances. Her only loss came in a runner-up finish to Kentucky Oaks contender Zazu in the Las Virgenes (GI) at Santa Anita, a setbackTurbulent Descent avenged in a win over that rival in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI).
“She’s an awfully good horse,” Puype said, “and the game needs horses like her to bring people out and see races.”
SOUTH (Arkansas, Louisiana) / MAY DAY ROSE ROLLS FOR BAFFERT IN INSTANT RACE– Kaleem Shah’s May Day Rose, last of six behind Turbulent Descent and Zazu in her previous start in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI), led throughout and held off late-charging Hearts on Fire to win Saturday’s $100,000 Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
Martin Garcia guided the Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Rockport Harbor to the front and kept her there.
“She is a really good filly and that is how she likes to run,” Garcia said. “She gave me a great run.”
Demoiselle (GII) winner Dixie City finished third as May Day Rose completed the one-mile course in 1:38.25.
It was the second stakes triumph of the year for May Day Rose, who earlier won Santa Anita’s Santa Ysabel (GIII).
OAKS 137 TALK – Team Valor International’s Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) winner Summer Soiree worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Saturday at Keeneland. The Graham Motion trainee is expected to ship to Churchill Downs for a Saturday work.