Two races were held over the Thanksgiving weekend that could end up having significance on the 2016 Kentucky Oaks (G1) under the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks, a series of races which offer points toward a starting berth in the 1 1/8-mile contest, kicked off in September and was represented by the Demoiselle S. (G2) at Aqueduct and Golden Rod S. (G2) at Churchill Downs over Thanksgiving weekend.
The latter contest saw Carina Mia romp by 4 1/4 lengths in front-running fashion. The Bill Mott pupil broke from the outside post, circled three rivals on the first turn and proceeded to lead all the way home under jockey Julien Leparoux.
Stageplay tracked in second throughout and held that spot on the wire. Carina Mia turned back a sustained challenge from Stageplay that began around the second turn, and opened up on her rival in late stretch.
Dream Dance was gaining at the end and wound up only 1 1/2 lengths behind Stageplay, who had already been geared down before the line. Dothraki Queen came wide into the stretch and was best of the rest while nowhere near the top three.
Carina Mia looked very nice in the Golden Rod and gained some valuable experience over an off track due to the sloppy, sealed nature of the main dirt that showery day. She also got a bit of revenge on Stageplay after suffering her only loss from three starts to date to that runner in their career debuts.
Much earlier in the day, Lewis Bay captured the Demoiselle by 1 3/4 lengths with jockey Irad Oritz Jr. in the saddle. The duo settled into a ground-saving rail spot as Lost Raven led the way up front. Thrilled tracked in second just to Lewis Bay’s outside, and that could have proven a problem for the eventual winner as she was trapped down on the inside.
Disco Rose and Mo D’amour joined Thrilled to the outside of Lost Raven entering the final turn, and Ortiz took the opportunity to angle Lewis Bay off the rail. The Chad Brown pupil was widest of all on the bend, well out in the six path, and rallied down the center of the track to prevail over Thrilled, who had a length to spare on Disco Rose. Flora Dora came with a nice late run to just miss third by a neck.
Lewis Bay was the even-money favorite after a six-length maiden victory at Belmont Park going seven furlongs, and definitely ran more than the Demoiselle’s nine furlongs. Besides a late wide trip, the bay miss didn’t encounter any trouble while chalking up her first score against winners.
Nine races are now in the books on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and probable champion two-year-old filly Songbird is the only one on the list with two wins. The unbeaten miss has captured both the Chandelier S. (G1) and Breeders’ Cup to top the leaderboard with 30 points.
Dothraki Queen is second on the current leaderboard with 19 points. The Kenny McPeek charge is also the only one with more than two appearances in the top four of points races. Songbird is joined by Nickname and Dream Dance in owning two appearances but, in addition to her fourth in the Golden Rod, the Dothraki Queen has also captured the Pocahontas S. (G2), finished second in the Alcibiades S. (G1) and filled the third spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Next up on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks is the December 12 Starlet S. (G1) at Los Alamitos.