A pair of Road to the Kentucky Oaks points races took place over the weekend, and two fillies distinguished themselves from their rivals.
The Alcibiades Stakes (G1) helped kick off the Keeneland Fall Meet on opening day Friday. Princess Warrior was favored at 3-2 in the 10-filly field, but in the end proved no match for Heavenly Love.
That Mark Casse trainee tracked the early pace set by Dancing through splits of :23.94, :48.38 and 1:13.81. Heavenly Love was about three wide and easily flew past the leader nearing the turn, drawing off with every stride in the lane to be 5 1/2 lengths clear on the wire under jockey Julien Leparoux.
The Malibu Moon filly impressed with the Alcibiades win at 5-1. Heavenly Love entered the 1 1/16-mile contest, which offered an all-fees paid start to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 4 at Del Mar, off a five-length win over the turf at Kentucky Downs after dropping her June 24 initial start on Gulfstream Park’s main track.
The Alcibiades win awarded Heavenly Love 10 points toward a spot in the 2018 Kentucky Oaks (G1) starting gate.
Princess Warrior was wide throughout the Alcibiades while running in midpack early, but still managed to get up for second. She took home four points while Dancing and Sassy Sienna garnered two and one, respectively.
Like many in the field, Heavenly Love and Princess Warrior were both trying two turns for the first time, and stepped up their games significantly. It’ll be interesting to see them rematch in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Belmont Park hosted the Frizette Stakes (G1) on Sunday and also attracted 10 two-year-old fillies. Separationofpowers was considered best of all as the 9-5 favorite and didn’t disappoint her backers.
The Chad Brown pupil tracked outside the leaders early in the race, began her run under jockey Jose Ortiz rounding the turn and easily pulled away in the stretch to finish 3 1/2 lengths in front of the rallying Caledonia Road.
Separationofpowers dominated her maiden debut at Saratoga on July 30, romping home an 11-length winner, but regressed slightly when third last out in the Spinaway Stakes (G1). Both that race and Sunday’s Frizette are “Win & You’re In” Challenge contests, so the Candy Ride filly will get the chance to re-oppose against Spinaway winner Lady Ivanka in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, if their connections send them out west.
Like Heavenly Love, Separationofpowers earned four points toward next year’s Oaks, but unlike the other filly has yet to go beyond a one-turn mile. The Breeders’ Cup will be a good stage to see exactly what the bay lass is capable of.
Caledonia Road was easily best of the rest in the Frizette, 8 1/4 lengths up on third-placer Maya Malibu. The bay daughter of Quality Road took her maiden bow at Saratoga by 2 3/4 lengths and is likely to improve with some more distance considering she came from last early on and seemed to run out of ground late. Purrfect Miss rounded out the top four in the one-mile contest.