A strong mix of accomplished stars headed by major stakes performers Grace Hall and On Fire Baby and exciting newcomers led by the Bob Baffert-trained trio of Eden’s Moon, Princess Arabella and Mamma Kimbo comprise the list of 94 3-year-old fillies nominated to compete in the 138th running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on Friday, May 4 at Churchill Downs.
Agave Kiss will face just four rivals while making her graded debut in Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Cicada Stakes going six furlongs on Aqueduct's inner dirt.
The unbeaten daughter of Lion Heart hasn't competed since taking the Ruthless Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on January 14, and was originally scheduled to go in the February 11 Dearly Precious Stakes.
However, with an eye on Grade 1 races like the $300,000 Prioress and $500,000 Test at Saratoga in August, trainer Rudy Rodriguez decided to bypass the Dearly Precious and await the Cicada with Agave Kiss.
Churchill Downs Racetrack will be aglow in pink again for the 138th running of the Kentucky Oaks – America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies on Friday, May 4 and annual celebration of food, fashion and fun – as the springtime event welcomes a new beneficiary in Stand Up To Cancer (“SU2C”) to raise vital funds and awareness for cancer research.
Although fans of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) made the “All Others” (#24) betting interest the overall favorite in Churchill Downs’ 2012 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”), they recognized Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert’s opportunities to win America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies for a second consecutive year by placing his young stars Princess Arabella (#18) and Eden’s Moon (#9) among the individual favorites when the Oaks Future pool ended its three-d
Martha Washington Stakes winner Amie's Dini showed she's ready for a showdown in the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee Stakes with fellow top filly On Fire Baby with a quick half-mile breeze Sunday at Oaklawn Park.
Under jockey Jon Court, the quick-footed daughter of Bandini sizzled through five furlongs in a bullet :59 2/5. As fast as the drill was, trainer Ron Moquett believes there's more in the tank.
Millionreasonswhy is slated to make her next start in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on April 7, trainer Ignacio Correas IV confirmed Sunday.
Eden's Moon was an easy winner of Saturday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park, but the talented bay miss had to survive an objection lodged by runner-up Reneesgotzip's trainer before she could give owner Kaleem Shah his first Grade 1 victory.
Sagamore Farm's Millionreasonswhy made her sophomore bow a winning one on Saturday when capturing the $77,750 Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park by 1 1/4 lengths with jockey Horacio Karamanos in the irons.
The bay miss went ran three wide around the turn after stalking the pace on the backstretch, grabbed command on the outside of 4-5 favorite Dance to Bristol and drew off under a hand ride to complete seven furlongs on the good dirt in 1:24.
On Santa Anita's Big 'Cap undercard on Saturday, the unbeaten Reneesgotzip tops a cast of eight three-year-old fillies for the Grade 1, $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes going a mile.
For the second consecutive year America’s reigning champion 2-year-old filly is missing from the 24 wagering interests in Churchill Downs’ lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager (“KOFW”) pool, a development that has left “All Others” (#24) as a strong early favorite over a wide-open group of 23 promising 3-year-old fillies included in the three-day betting pool that opens on Friday, March 2.
Peras International's Yara was sent off the 64-1 second longest shot in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but dueled 4-5 favorite Grace Hall into a neck loss when crossing under the wire first. The Put It Back filly paid out huge to her backers, returning $131, $38 and $14.40 for the victory under jockey Jesus Castanon.
Summer Applause earned even-money favoritism in the January 21 Silverbulletday Stakes following an dominating seven-length victory in her Fair Grounds debut against optional claiming rivals on New Year's Eve, but could do no better than second on that day while making her first start for new trainer Bret Calhoun. One month later and the public jumped ship on the bay lass as she was sent off the 3-1 third choice in Saturday's Grade 3, $194,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes.
For much of Thursday's Group 3, $250,000 U.A.E. Oaks, runaway pacesetter Mary Fildes threatened to pull a shocker. But Godolphin's Falls of Lora rallied from well back to foil the audacious front runner, handing the team its incredible eighth victory in just 12 runnings of the fillies' classic.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Grace Hall is set to launch her sophomore campaign on Saturday as the probable favorite and horse to beat in the Grade 2, $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile race has drawn nine total runners, including Disposablepleasure, who will be Grace Hall's main threat.
Saturday's Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds lost an entrant Monday when the undefeated sophomore filly Applauding was withdrawn following a four-furlong breeze in :50 4/5 over the fast main track at Fair Grounds.
"She didn't work to my satisfaction and I'm going to scratch her," trainer Al Stall Jr. said. "She just wasn't herself. I don't know if something's bugging her internally or what. She just wasn't right."
Believe You Can will only have to contend with six rivals in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds, but her biggest threat looks to come from a filly making her stakes bow in the 1 1/16-mile race.
Grade 3 winner Now I Know, the Oklahoma-bred gray who saw her undefeated status snapped in the $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park last Saturday, has been retired after exiting the one-mile race with a fractured left knee.
Trainer Don Von Hemel, who co-owns and co-bred the three-year-old filly with Wayne Stockseth, told Daily Racing Form that Now I Know would be sent to Oklahoma City for possible surgery. She will eventually be bred.
Amie's Dini was the second choice in Saturday's $75,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park, but ran like a favorite when holding previously unbeaten 1-2 choice Now I Know by 1 3/4 lengths on the wire.
Dual Grade 2-winning filly On Fire Baby will be pointed toward the Grade 3, $125,000 Honeybee at Oaklawn Park on March 10 as trainer Gary 'Red Dog' Hartlage seeks the best schedule to get the talented three-year-old to peak at Churchill Downs in the first week of May.
"It's all about the best road for getting to Louisville," Hartlage said. "I have no problem waiting a few more weeks with the way she's been training if this puts on that road."
Dixie Strike (Dixie Union), the lesser half of an entry bet down to 4-5, saved chalk players with a strong stretch rally in Saturday's $105,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs.
Owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse, Dixie Strike was ridden here by Jose Lezcano.
"I think Dixie Strike could be a Kentucky Oaks filly," Casse said. "We're going to have to map out a plan to get there."