Ever So Clever races into Kentucky Oaks conversation

Jul 04, 2016 Jennifer Caldwell/Brisnet.com

Ever So Clever pretty much walked out of the gate in the 4TH race at Churchill Downs on Friday, but exploded with a powerful run in the stretch to score a pulling off 7 1/4-length victory under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.

That, coupled with the nice 86 BRIS Speed rating she earned for the win, was enough to see the Medaglia d’Oro filly top this week’s look at promising juvenile fillies.

While it may be a bit early to start talking about the Kentucky Oaks (G1) – after all we still have the Saratoga and Del Mar meets to get through first – Ever So Clever stamped herself as a clear candidate for the Run for the Lilies.

The dark bay lass comes from the Steve Asmussen shedrow and is out of the Mr. Greeley mare Foxy Danseur, who captured a pair of stakes while placing in two Grade 3s during her time on track. Ever So Clever has a couple of stakes-placed half-siblings in Miss Centerfold and Tathqeef, and this female family is also responsible for multiple Grade 2 queen Any Limit.

Last Saturday saw the Nandi Stakes take place at Woodbine, and while the race is over the Tapeta, easy winner Conquest Vivi could find herself running on the dirt at some point in the future.

The Mark Casse-trained daughter of Court Vision broke her maiden debut by 6 1/4 lengths going 4 1/2 furlongs over the synthetic track on June 12 and returned off the 13-day break to draw clear by 2 1/2 lengths in the Nandi while stretching out an extra furlong.

The Nandi is part of a progression of longer events leading up to the 1 1/16-mile Mazarine Stakes (Can-G3) at Woodbine on October 8, which has traditionally been part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races.

Conquest Viv is now two-for-two in her career with 87 and 85 BRIS Speed figures to her credit. The Ontario-bred lass is out of the unraced Victory Gallop mare Keen Victory, making her a half-sister to multiple stakes victor Conquest Enforcer, who captured the Charlie Barley Stakes on Sunday’s Queen’s Plate undercard.

All other notable fillies this week ran on Saturday, highlighted by Debutante Stakes victress Pretty City Dancer.

The Casse pupil hopped at the start of the six-furlong affair and found herself running near the rear of the 10-filly field heading onto the backstretch. She was kept under a tight hold from Julien Leparoux but still tugged herself up into contention by the time the field had hit the turn. Going widest of all, she drew off to be 3 1/4 lengths clear on the wire, good for an 82 BRIS Speed rating.

Pretty City Dancer is by Tapit and out of the unraced Carson City mare Pretty City, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 victor My Big Boy. Pretty Sister Dancer is herself a half-sibling to Grade 1 heroine Lear’s Princess.

U S Diva scored at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, upsetting a five-furlong maiden special weight by 1 3/4 lengths at 23-1.

Trained by Daniel Pita, the U S Diva earned a 78 BRIS Speed figure for her debut victory. By United States, the bay miss is the first registered foal out of the Limehouse mare Destiny’s Diva and comes from the same female family as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Proper Reality, who ran fourth in the 1988 Kentucky Derby (G1).

Nonna Mela descends from a very nice family as well. The dark bay daughter of Arch is trained by Todd Pletcher and romped by 7 1/4 lengths in her second career start Saturday at Monmouth Park, earning an 83 BRIS Speed rating.

The Kentucky-bred lass is out of the unraced Storm Cat mare Cool Storm, who is a full sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Bluegrass Cat. That colt ran second in the 2006 editions of the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1).

Rum Punch, from the barn of trainer Tom Proctor, also scored a dominating win on Saturday, this time at Parx Racing. The Street Hero chestnut filly drew off as the 3-2 favorite in her career opener to garner an 87 BRIS Speed figure.

Rum Punch is out of the stakes-placed Tapit mare Tapatia, who is a half-sister to the dam of Grade 1 scorer Tapizar. This female line also includes Grade 1 heroes Olympio and Pyro but, even more notable, 2014 champion three-year-old filly, Kentucky Oaks queen and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) victress Untapable.

Finally, to close this week’s two-year-old filly recap, Stormy Perfection broke her maiden by a neck at 22-1 at Woodbine on Saturday. The Michael Doyle-trained miss only earned a 76 BRIS Speed rating for the effort, but her family landed her in this report.

Stormy Perfection is by Tale of the Cat and out of the unraced Perfect Soul mare Silent Perfection, making her a three-quarter sister to multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Tale of Ekati. The juvenile filly’s third dam is Grade 1 queen Maplejinsky, who produced champion Sky Beauty and the dam of Breeders’ Cup Distaff heroine Pleasant Home, just to name two.

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