Nine will line-up on Saturday for the $125,000 Honeybee S. (G3) at Oaklawn Park, the final local prep for that track's April 10 Fantasy S. (G2), and the 1 1/16-mile test features the return of Demoiselle S. (G2) heroine DIXIE CITY (Dixie Union) and Frizette S. (G1) third JOYFUL VICTORY (Tapit).
The connections of Santa Anita Oaks (G1) winner TURBULENT DESCENT (Congrats) have all but ruled out a bid at the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) and will instead point the filly toward shorter races, trainer Mike Puype told Daily Racing Form on Tuesday.
Turbulent Descent captured the Santa Anita Oaks last Saturday by a neck over Zazu (Tapit), a rival that beat her two starts back in the Las Virgenes S. (G1).
Blinkers On Racing Stable et al's TURBULENT DESCENT (Congrats) gained a measure of revenge on Saturday when holding the late rush of Zazu (Tapit) to take the $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1). The last time the two met, Zazu handed Turbulent Descent her first career loss in the Las Virgenes S. (G1), but Saturday's contest saw their roles reversed as Turbulent Descent got the jump on her rival to post a neck victory under jockey David Flores.
R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) returned to form when trouncing her Davona Dale S. (G2) rivals last Saturday at Gulfstream Park and is looking good for this year's Kentucky Oaks (G1). DANCINGINHERDREAMS (Tapit) gained a measure of revenge against POMEROYS PISTOL (Pomeroy) when holding that rival to third by a head in the one-mile test, but neither could withstand the Lightning strike.
Besides the Davona Dale, last week didn't yield much in the way of Oaks contenders, though a nice new maiden winner did pop up at Gulfstream on Wednesday.
Stronach Stable’s Awesome Feather, the unbeaten 2-year-old filly champion of 2010 and winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I), sits atop 117 talented fillies on the roster of early nominees to compete for a record $1 million purse offered for the 137th running of the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6 at Churchill Downs.
ZAZU (Tapit) had fallen to TURBULENT DESCENT (Congrats) in their two meetings prior to the February 5 Las Virgenes S. (G1) at Santa Anita, and finally managed to turn the tables in that one-mile affair when scoring by 1 1/4 lengths over her rival. On Saturday, the pair will face-off for a fourth time in the $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) while stretching back out to 1 1/16 miles.
Considering that Donna Eaton's GOLDEN SPRINGS (Pomeroy) had dropped her last eight since breaking her maiden for a $25,000 tag, she was ignored as the longest shot on the board at 42-1 in Sunday's $50,000 Island Fashion S. at Sunland Park. But the stretch-out to two turns produced a massive turnaround in form for the Joyce Salisbury trainee, who upset this prep for the March 27 Sunland Park Oaks and furnished an $86.40 win payout.
Shawnee Racing Stable's HARLAN'S RUBY (Harlan's Holiday) returned from a four-month layoff to win Saturday night's $50,000 Valdale S. at Turfway Park, setting her up for a run at the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) on March 26. Veteran rider Perry Ouzts was in the irons for trainer Ken McPeek.
"(The Bourbonette) has been our plan, if we were successful here," assistant trainer Michael Kleier said. "She has a lot of class and she's been in Florida training very forwardly, and she's had a lot of experience going long. We wanted to get a race on this track and feel confident about winning.
Trainer Ken McPeek, who saddled KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) to win Fair Grounds' Rachel Alexandra S. (G3) February 19 and ROGUE ROMANCE (Smarty Jones) to run third in the Risen Star S. (G2) on the same day, indicated Sunday morning that both the filly and the colt would be returning to New Orleans to run back in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) and the Louisiana Derby (G2), respectively, on March 26.
"Everything is fine with both of them," McPeek said Sunday morning from South Florida, "and we're planning on coming back with both of them."
E Paul Robsham Stables LLC's homebred R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi) scooted through on the rail in Saturday's $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park and pulled away to be 7 1/4 lengths clear on the wire of the one-mile test. Sent off the 5-2 second choice in the nine-filly field, the Todd Pletcher trainee stopped the clock in 1:36 1/5 to return $7, $3.20 and $2.40 to her backers.
KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat) was the big story over the past two weeks, but a couple of new shooters have popped up and could offer that one a real challenge come Kentucky Oaks Day. They'll have to move forward, but anything can happen in the two months leading up to the big day.
FLORIDA / DANCINGINHERDREAMS LOOKS TO REBOUND IN DAVONA DALE – John C. Oxley’s Dancinginherdreams suffered her first career defeat in her 2011 racing debut, but that has not deterred admirers who are expected to make the nearly white filly 3-year-old favorite in Saturday’s $250,000 Davona Dale (Grade (GII) at Florida’s Gulfstream Park.
HARLAN'S RUBY (Harlan's Holiday), the runner-up in the Alcibiades S. (G1) two starts back at Keeneland, will revert to Polytrack for her three-year-old debut in Saturday's $50,000 Valdale S. at Turfway Park. Only eighth when last seen in the November 5 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on the dirt at Churchill Downs, the Ken McPeek trainee figures to enjoy the surface switch.
Under a pitch-perfect ride by master tactician Frankie Dettori, Godolphin's KHAWLAH (Cape Cross [Ire]) struck the front while prohibitive favorite Mahbooba (Galileo [Ire]) was still awaiting room, and the Saeed bin Suroor filly proved more than capable of springing the upset in Thursday's $250,000 U.A.E. Oaks (UAE-G3). Staying on powerfully for the length of the stretch, Khawlah fended off the prolonged challenge of Mahbooba by 1 1/4 lengths in a stakes-record 1:58 2/5 for about 1 3/16 miles on Meydan's Tapeta.