- Road to the Kentucky Derby
- Racing & Wagering
More Than Love gets blinkers added for Bourbonette Oaks
More Than Love could throw her hat into the Kentucky Oaks ring with a winning run in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park. The John Terranova pupil will be getting blinkers added to help her chances in the one-mile Polytrack contest, which will be her first non-turf race.
The More Than Ready filly owns just one other start this season, finishing a nose second while making her sophomore bow in the Florida Oaks on February 4 at Tampa Bay Downs. Prior to that, the chestnut lass closed out her two-year-old campaign with a nose win in the Grade 3 Miesque Stakes at Hollywood Park. More Than Love opened her career in New York, finishing fourth in her career debut at Belmont Park before breaking her maiden by a length in a 1 1/16-mile turf contest at that same venue in early October.
Corey Nakatani was aboard for that initial score and takes back the mount Saturday.
More Than Love's main competition looks to come from the Todd Pletcher-trained In Lingerie. The late-blooming filly made her first lifetime start at Turfway on January 14, romping by 6 1/4 lengths while under the tutelage of conditioner Stephen Lyster. Soon after that, the Empire Maker lass was privately purchased by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber and sent south to Pletcher's shedrow.
In Lingerie was runner-up in her debut for her new connections after becoming fractious in the gate of the one-mile optional claiming test at Gulfstream. The bay miss will get John Velazquez back in the irons for Saturday's race, where she could be favored while receiving six pounds from 124 top weight More Than Love.
Bourbonstreetgirl could also draw some attention off a nice runner-up effort in the Biogio's Rose Starter Stakes last out on January 19. The Gary Contessa charge placed in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes and Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes as a juvenile, but the Langfuhr filly has yet to break through with a win since taking her first start by a head against maiden claiming rivals.
Dixie Jackpot and Venetian Sonata both competed in a local prep for the Bourbonette Oaks, with the former running third in the Valdale Stakes while Venetian Sound came in fifth. Dixie Jackpot filled the fifth spot herself in the Gowell Stakes in late December, but the Bandini lass was a dominant winner prior to that, taking her maiden and an allowance by a combined 20 1/2 lengths at Mountaineer Park.
Venetian Sonata spent the winter in Florida and was unplaced in a pair of stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Despite her Valdale fifth, the Bernardini miss does bring valuable Polytrack experience into Saturday's race as she just missed by 1 1/2 lengths when fourth in the Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie last September.
Original Kitten, Toxis and Dancing Solo are all maiden scorers looking for their first victory against winners. Bourbonesque, unable to visit the winner's circle in eight starts thus far, completes the field.