Moonshine Memories ran her record to a perfect three-for-three on Saturday at Santa Anita Park with a nice 2 3/4-length victory in the Chandelier Stakes (G1) under jockey Flavien Prat.
The duo tracked 9-5 favorite Alluring Favorite, who set the pace through the first three-quarters, before taking over entering the final turn. Moonshine Memories drew off from that rival in the lane, finishing 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:46.32.
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Moonshine Memories earned not only a guaranteed berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 4 at Del Mar but also 10 points toward a spot in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) gate next May at Churchill Downs. The Chandelier is both a “Win & You’re In” Challenge race for the Breeders’ Cup and part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points contests.
Alluring Star, second by virtue of keeping her neck in front of the fast-closing Piedi Bianchi on the Chandelier wire, took home four points for the 2018 Kentucky Oaks. Piedi Bianchi was best of the rest and earned two points while Dancing Belle, another 9 1/4 lengths behind in fourth, was awarded one point.
Moonshine Memories proved star of the show, though. Campaigned by John and Leslie Malone’s Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael B. Tabor, the bay daughter of Malibu Moon broke her maiden by a length on August 19 at Del Mar and returned just two weeks later to take the Del Mar Debutante (G1) by a half-length over Piedi Bianchi.
The Kentucky-bred miss has consistently earned BRIS Speed ratings in the 90s, not bad for a youngster her age, and is now headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Can she parlay a win in that championship event into Kentucky Oaks glory six months later?
History is not on her side.
Open Mind was the first Juvenile Fillies winner to go on the next year and take the Kentucky Oaks, doing so in 1988 and 1989, respectively. It took another 10 years before Silverbulletday showed up to complete the double in 1998 and 1999, respectively.
Beholder came close in 2013, just missing by a half-length after leading in the stretch of the Kentucky Oaks. She captured the previous year’s Juvenile Fillies by a length and would go on to earn four Eclipse Awards, two editions of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and the 2015 Pacific Classic (G1) over the boys.
Ria Antonio was the last to try, though it should be noted that the Rockport Harbor filly didn’t actually finish first in the Juvenile Fillies. The bay miss was a nose behind She’s a Tiger on the wire at 32-1 and awarded the win after She’s a Tiger ended up being disqualified.
She’s a Tiger didn’t compete in the 2014 Kentucky Oaks and Ria Antonio could only manage a one-paced sixth in that contest, which was dominated by Untapable.
But all of this is putting the cart before the filly. Moonshine Memories earned an all-fees paid shot at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Now she has to not only show up in a month’s time but also win that 8 1/2-furlong affair.