A pair of Kentucky Oaks qualifiers, the $200,000 Martha Washington S. at Oaklawn Park and $100,000 Forward Gal S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park, will be offered Saturday. Both races award points on a 10-4-2-1 scale toward a berth in the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Stakes winner Coach will open her 3-year-old season in the Martha Washington over a two-turn mile. Florent Geroux has the call on the 7-5 morning line favorite.
A convincing winner in her first three starts, including the Rags to Riches S. at Churchill, Coach exits a respectable third-place finish in the Nov. 28 Golden Rod S. (G2) under the Twin Spires. The Commissioner filly earned a field-best 91 Brisnet Speed rating last time.
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen has a pair of contenders, Joy’s Rocket and Lady Lilly, among the six runners. Joy’s Rocket has been installed at 5-2 following a nice tally in the Dec. 19 Letellier Memorial S. at Fair Grounds. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides. Grade 1-placed Lady Liily will try to rebound after an unplaced effort in the Golden Rod, and David Carera picks up the mount.
Completing the field are Sylvia Q, who exits a nose second as the even-money favorite in a Fair Grounds allowance; Indiana Grand allowance scorer Novel Squall; and Fair Grounds maiden winner Will’s Secret.
In the 7-furlong Forward Gal, Zaajel will jump straight to stakes competition for three-time Kentucky Oaks winner Todd Pletcher. The daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense rolled to a 7 1/4- win when making her career debut in a Dec. 20 maiden special weight at Gulfstream. Luis Saez retains the assignment.
Competitive Speed is the lone stakes winner among the eight contestants, stretching her win streak to three with a three-length score in the Jan. 2 Glitter Woman S. Leonel Reyes will be back up for Javier Gonzalez.
Rags to Riches runner-up Lady Traveler, unplaced most recently in the Golden Rod, will open her sophomore campaign for Dale Romans. Corey Lanerie guides.
Other runners include last-out maiden winners Coach Jer’s Joy and Three Tipsy Chix.