With the Kentucky Oaks Championship series of races underway, now would be a good time to go back and review the Prep Season contests that have led up to this point.
There were a total of 16 races during the Prep Season offering points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. All but one of those races offered points on a 10-5-2-1 scale to the respective top four finishers. The exception was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), which awarded points on a 20-8-4-2 basis.
Carina Mia angled over and headed straight up to the front to contend for the lead while four wide around the first turn of the Golden Rod. She continued moving forward until taking command entering the backstretch over a sloppy Churchill Downs track and proceeded to set the pace under a snug hold from jockey Julien Leparoux. Stageplay was tracking just in behind and outside after being one of the four-horse tandem who rounded the first turn. Carina Mia maintained her lead until heading into the turn, when Stageplay began her move to draw even. Leparoux began urging his filly on and Carina Mia responded, drawing off from Stageplay to score the 4 1/4-length victory. Dream Dance came running late for third, sailing on by Carina Mia on the gallop out, with Dothraki Queen filling out the top four.
Street Fancy outran her 6-1 odds in the Starlet while stretching out past seven furlongs for the first time. The bay miss broke from the 2 post and found herself squeezed back a bit entering the first turn as Pretty N Cool and Treasuring gunned for the lead to duke it out up front. Jockey Mike Smith allowed Street Fancy to settle near the back of the main pack, with Sutton’s Smile the only rival she had behind her on the backstretch. Street Fancy looked beaten in the lane but Smith wasn’t giving up, vigorously urging the Street Sense filly on. The Kentucky-bred miss angled inside, split rivals and got up to deny Stays in Vegas by a length on the wire. Sutton’s Smile also put in a nice late rally to take third, three lengths behind Stays in Vegas but a head up on Pretty N Cool.
After a subpar eighth in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, Forever Darling cut back to 6 1/2 furlongs for the Santa Ynez and prevailed at the shorter distance. The Congrats filly pressed the early pace just outside of Pretty N Cool on the backstretch with the closely knit pack breathing down both their necks. She lost some ground rounding the turn but came back on in the stretch under encouragement from jockey Rafael Bejarano to get the half-length win over a very tenacious Code Warrior to her outside. It was only a head farther back to Pretty N Cool down on the rail, with Treasuring completing the superfecta.
Stageplay was a heavy favorite to win the Silverbulletday at 3-5, and the Steve Asmussen pupil didn’t disappoint with a 1 1/4-length score. With hot-riding Florent Geroux in the saddle, the gray filly was immediately angled over from her far outside post and took up position just outside of leader Midnight On Oconee and Lovable Lyss down the backstretch. Lovable Lyss was pretty aggressive, pulling jockey Francisco Torres up in the saddle, but Stageplay bided her time in third just outside. She moved ever closer entering the final bend and ranged up to challenge Midnight On Oconee entering the lane about three wide. Stageplay easily took command and motored home to win over a stubborn Midnight On Oconee, who kept pace with the winner on the gallop out. It was a distant 4 3/4 lengths back to Jet Black Magic in third, with Lovable Lyss being beaten out by a half-length for the show spot.