The Bob Baffert-trained Dream Tree joined the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks on Saturday when pulling off for an easy victory in the Starlet Stakes (G1) at Los Alamitos to remain unbeaten in three career starts.
The race was the final points contest of 2017 in the series for three-year-old fillies seeking a starting berth to next spring’s Kentucky Oaks (G1). Dream Tree took home the lion’s share of the 10-4-2-1 points thanks to her 3 1/4-length score under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
Dream Tree followed Yesterday’s News as that rival moved up to take command of the Starlet rounding the first turn. Van Dyke had his hands full as the bay miss sought more rein while running just outside and behind Yesterday’s News.
Those two began pulling away from the other pair of runners in the field nearing the final bend. Yesterday’s News drifted out rounding the turn, taking Dream Tree with her, and maintained her lead in the lane. However, Dream Tree had finally been given permission to run and the juvenile miss easily drew even before opening up under a hand ride.
It was nice to see Dream Tree pull away, as her initial pair of races were both won by a nose. In her defense, her maiden at Santa Anita Park took place at six furlongs and Del Mar’s Desi Arnaz Stakes was seven furlongs. The Uncle Mo filly obviously liked the stretch out to 1 1/16 miles in the Starlet, and showed progression with the route win.
Dream Tree also improved her BRIS Speed figure to 94 with the win. She earned 91 and 92 ratings for her first two starts, and seems to be developing at a consistent rate. That bodes well for next year, as the precocious, flashy two-year-olds don’t always carry their form forward into their sophomore campaigns.
Yesterday’s News reputed herself well for trainer Simon Callaghan. Sent off the 9-1 longest shot in the four-filly field, she proved best-of-the-rest by 5 1/4 lengths.
The New Year’s Day lass already boasted five starts before the Starlet, but her most recent pair came on turf. She didn’t actually do all that bad, finishing sixth by only 3 1/2 lengths while making her stakes bow in the Surfer Girl Stakes at Santa Anita Park and just caught to be second by 1 3/4 lengths in an allowance/optional claimer at Del Mar.
Both of those came at a mile, a distance Yesterday’s News has won at thanks to a maiden victory on Del Mar’s main track in early September.
The bay filly was awarded a 90 BRIS Speed rating for her second on Saturday and, like Dream Tree, appears to show forward progression with each start. She’s one to keep an eye on next year.