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Flashy Gray tops Fair Grounds Oaks
Flashy Gray gets a chance to make amends for her runner-up effort as the 2-5 favorite in Oaklawn's Grade 3 Honeybee on March 9 when she is pegged as the solid 6-5 morning-line choice in the Grade 2, $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday on the Louisiana Derby Day undercard.
Four of the last eight winners of the Fair Grounds Oaks -- the filly equivalent of the Louisiana Derby -- have gone on to victory in Churchill Downs' Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on the day before the Kentucky Derby. The most recent of those was Believe You Can, who accomplished the double Oaks parlay last spring for trainer Larry Jones.
Prior to her Honeybee second-place effort, Flashy Gray had broken her maiden with an impressive 10 1/4-length score in her final start as a juvenile last fall at Churchill and made it two straight tallies with a 4 3/4-length win against optional claiming company on February 10 at Gulfstream in her first start as a sophomore.
The Flashy Bull filly is conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott and will have the riding services of Junior Alvarado for Saturday's Fair Grounds Oaks.
Capable of providing strong competition for Flashy Gray is undefeated Unlimited Budget, who is already familiar to Fair Grounds fans after capturing the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra last month with an impressive 3 3/4-length tally for Pletcher. Installed as the 9-5 second choice on the Oaks early line, the Street Sense bay was also 1 1/4 lengths the best in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle last November, and will be ridden by Javier Castellano for the first time Saturday.
Promise Me More will be looking to turn the tables on Unlimited Budget following her second in the Rachel Alexandra, and the 10-1 morning-line shot will keep Miguel Mena aboard for Saturday's race.
Not to be discounted in the Fair Grounds Oaks is So Many Ways, who won Saratoga's Grade 1 Spinaway and Grade 3 Schuylerville last summer to complete an undefeated juvenile campaign. Established as the 6-1 third choice on the early Oaks line, the Sightseeing miss suffered from a poor start in her only appearance as a sophomore in the Primal Force at Gulfstream on March 1 and finished third.
So Many Ways is trained by Tony Dutrow and will have Hernandez Jr. in the irons.
Joining her in the starting gate will be Seaneen Girl, who hasn't been seen in competition since taking the Grade 2 Golden Rod under the Twin Spires last November; Blue Violet, third in the Rachel Alexandra in her stakes bow for trainer Larry Jones; and stakes victress Ante Up Annie, who was runner-up in the Azalea earlier this month at Delta Downs.