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And Why Not could make seasonal bow in GP Oaks
Trainer Michael Matz, who is preparing Union Rags to headline the Grade 1, $1 million Florida Derby on March 31, has a potential starter for the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks on the same day in And Why Not.
"And Why Not may be running in the Oaks here or an allowance race the week after on the grass," Matz said. "But I definitely want to try and get her to the (Grade 1 Kentucky) Oaks. I think she's that type of filly and I think the distance would be perfect for her."
The three-year-old daughter of Street Cry hasn't raced since finishing second in the Grade 2 Pocahontas last October 30 at Churchill Downs, where she closed strongly from 11th in the 12-horse field with a seven-wide move to get within three-quarters of a length of On Fire Baby at the finish.
"She was a very late foal, so we wanted to give her time to mature. She's quite a big horse," Matz said.
And Why Not made a striking debut at Saratoga last August to win by 5 1/2 lengths with a strong late run. Following a troubled start from her rail post position in the Grade 1 Spinaway, Helen Groves' homebred recovered to finish third behind Grace Hall, a leading Gulfstream Oaks candidate. Her only off-the-board finish came over Keeneland's Polytrack with a sixth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades, in which she was rank early. She rebounded with her sharp effort in the Pocahontas.
Matz is also preparing another highly regarded three-year-old filly for her 2012 debut. Somali Lemonade, who won her first two races last year in impressive fashion, hasn't been to the starting gate since running in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, in which she endured a rough trip from the No. 14 post position to finish sixth.
"She's going to run April 19 in the (Grade 3) Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland. "She's doing real good," Matz said. "We really don't have an agenda for her. She's starting a little late there, and hopefully we'll have a nice season with her."
Somali Lemonade debuted with a late-running 1 3/4-length victory in a seven-furlong turf maiden special weight at Belmont Park in September. The daughter of Lemon Drop Kid came right back a month later to capture the Grade 3 Jessamine at Keeneland in October with a last-to-first 1 1/16-mile score.