Trainer Todd Pletcher holds a strong hand in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park, with undefeated Onlyforyou and stablemate Stopchargingmaria looming as the class of the eight-filly field. The local stepping stone to the March 29 Gulfstream Oaks, the 1 1/16-mile affair offers 50 Kentucky Oaks points to the winner.
"They are two nice fillies," Pletcher said. "I hate to run them against each other."
Ria Antonia, elevated to first in last fall's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, will make her three-year-old debut at Fair Grounds Saturday in the Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra, a 1 1/16-mile prep for next month's Fair Grounds Oaks.
Brereton Jones' Divine Beauty and Fox Hill Farms' Cassatt will not run in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra, trainer Larry Jones advised Sunday morning during training hours at Fair Grounds.
The Rachel Alexandra is Fair Grounds' designed prep for the Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, to be run on Louisiana Derby Day, March 29, on the penultimate day of the current racing season in New Orleans.
Trainer Todd Pletcher may enter as many as three horses for next Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for three-year-old fillies.
"Right now, I'm planning to enter Onlyforyou, Stopchargingmaria and Got Lucky is also under consideration for here and the (Grade 3, $200,000) Rachel Alexandra (at Fair Grounds on the same day)," Pletcher said Saturday morning.
Arnold Zetcher LLC and Michael B. Tabor's Fashion Plate handed even-money favoriteStreaming her first loss when holding that rival by a half-length to wire Saturday's Grade 1, $300,500 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita.
Ivan Dalos' Aragorn Ami survived a claim of foul from Channing Hill, rider of runner-up Euphrosyne, after coming in on that rival during the stretch run of Saturday's $100,000 Martha Washington to take her stakes debut in the one-mile race and move her record to a perfect two-for-two.
Trained by Josie Carroll and ridden by Norberto Arroyo Jr., the bay filly was sent off the 13-1 seventh choice but ran like a favorite to reward her backers with a $28.80 win payout.
Main Line Racing Stable's Joint Return was making her stakes bow on Saturday in the $100,000 Busher at Aqueduct and rallied widest of all rounding the turn to post a 4 1/4-length victory with jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard. The John Servis-trained miss was sent off the 7-1 fifth pick in the seven-filly field and returned $16.80 for the win.
Streaming has yet to be defeated in two races and on Saturday will try to make it three when heading a field of eight in the Grade 1, $300,000 Las Virgenes at Santa Anita Park.
While a steppingstone on the road to the Grade 1, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, the one-mile race for three-year-old fillies is prestigious in its own right and will award points toward a starting berth in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has entered two three-year-old fillies in Saturday's $100,000 Busher at Aqueduct, a race he won last year with eventual Kentucky Oaks heroine Princess of Sylmar.
Fierce Boots, who led wire-to-wire in winning the Busanda on January 4, is likely to employ the same tactics from post 2 in this 1 1/16-mile affair. Pletcher's other interest, My Jimmy Chew Girl, has form to find after dropping her last two in starter optional claiming company.
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Ria Antonia, who was expected to face males in the February 22 Risen Star at Fair Grounds, will instead stay in her own division in the Rachel Alexandra on the same day, connections announced via Twitter Monday.
Co-owner Loooch Racing Stable and trainer Jeremiah Englehart each noted that this change of plan for her sophomore debut does not affect their major goal of pitting Ria Antonia against males on the Kentucky Derby trail.
Glencrest Farm's Onlyforyou flashed to the front at the start and led all the way in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park, remaining unbeaten with a 2 3/4-length decision in the seven-furlong event. Javier Castellano guided the extremely promising Todd Pletcher-trained filly.
Trainer Dallas Stewart has been very high on Saturday's Silverbulletday winner Unbridled Forever ever since she came into his barn, and the bay daughter of Unbridled's Song justified his optimism with the 1 1/2-length tally in the first leg of the local series that concludes with the Grade 2, $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks on Louisiana Derby Day, March 29.
Lemons Forever posted one of the biggest upsets in recent Kentucky Oaks history when taking the 2006 edition at odds of 47-1. Her three-year-old daughter, Unbridled Forever, won't be so easily dismissed in the future following a convincing score in Saturday's $125,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds.
The five-stakes "Road to the Derby Kickoff" day at Fair Grounds on Saturday includes the $125,000 Silverbulletday at one mile and 70 yards, which features three-year-old fillies with Kentucky Oaks aspirations.
Six fillies were entered in the Silverbulletday, with Divine Beauty the likely favorite. A debut winner at Churchill in September, the Brereton Jones homebred romped by 6 1/4 lengths over subsequent Dixie Belle winner Street Story in the December 21 Letellier Memorial going six furlongs.
Fair Grounds-based trainer Dallas Stewart, who saddled Lemons Forever to win the 2006 Kentucky Oaks for a $96.20 win payoff, is now hopeful of pursuing that sort of campaign with Charles Fipke's Unbridled Forever, a precocious daughter of that Lemon Drop Kid mare.
To that end, the McComb, Mississippi-born Stewart breezed Unbridled Forever five furlongs in 1:03 2/5 Sunday morning over Fair Grounds' fast main track in preparation for Saturday's $125,000 Silverbulletday on Road to the Derby Kickoff Day at the Crescent City oval.
Kaleem Shah Inc.'s Awesome Baby dueled throughout the backstretch with Taste Like Candy in Saturday's Grade 2, $196,000 Santa Ynez before pulling away in the lane and then holding that rival's late surge to win by a half-length on the wire. The 5-1 third choice in the short four-filly field returned $12.60 to her backers for finishing 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita's fast main track in 1:16 3/5.
Fierce Boots took the lead coming out of the gate and was never challenged as she rolled to a two-length upset of 9-5 favorite Flipcup in Saturday's $100,000 Busanda for three-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.
Taste Like Candy, a solid second to Streaming in her stakes debut in last month's Hollywood Starlet, reverts to sprinting for the Grade 2, $200,000 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita. The 6 1/2-furlong dash for three-old fillies only attracted a field of four and will be run as the second race on Saturday's card.
Saturday's $100,000 Busanda features a field of eight three-year-old fillies at Aqueduct. Flipcup, a runaway winner of the recent East View for New York-breds, will tackle open company in the one-mile and 70-yard event on the inner track.
As part of the "Prep Season" portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks scoring system, the Busanda will offer points on a 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.
It was only a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race, but Taste Like Candy's 6 1/2-length debut win at Santa Anita on October 20 suggested the sky was the limit for the Jerry Hollendorfer-trained filly. She will have an opportunity to prove herself against a more seasoned group Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Hollywood Starlet over 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track.