Eight fillies were entered to go a mile on Saturday in Oaklawn Park’s $100,000 Martha Washington S., and Nickname is the one to beat in her sophomore debut.
The dark bay filly was last seen taking the Frizette S. (G1) at Belmont Park and finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Keeneland in October. Nickname has continued to boost her BRIS Speed ratings with each start and is looking to improve her position on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) leaderboard with a win on Saturday.
The Martha Washington is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and awards the winner 10 points toward a starting berth in that May 6 contest. Nickname already boasts 12 points, good for fourth on the current leaderboard, thanks to her Frizette victory and Breeders’ Cup fourth.
Jockey Corey Nakatani has the first-time call on the Steve Asmussen pupil as she seeks to open her three-year-old season in winning fashion.
While Nickname is the top draw, there are two fillies who might just be able to upset the likely favorite.
Marquee Miss and Durango already show a race in 2016, meeting up in the Dixie Belle S. going six furlongs at Oaklawn on January 15. The former wired that contest by 2 1/2 lengths with Durango trailing in second throughout.
That was Marquee Miss’ second stakes score, as the Ingrid Mason trainee broke her maiden first out in the Arlington-Washington Lassie last August. The bay lass was unable to break into the top three in her subsequent trio of starts, but seems to have gained new life at Oaklawn. She retains the services of jockey Channing Hill on Saturday.
Durango actually competed exclusively at Churchill Downs in 2015, running second in her debut before breaking her maiden and taking an allowance/optional claimer, both in November. Trainer Randy Morse shipped the bay filly to Oaklawn to kick off her sophomore campaign and she responded with a nice run in the Dixie Belle while making her stakes bow. The Kentucky-bred posted a sharp half-mile move on Sunday to ready for the Martha Washington and gets Alex Canchari in the irons.
My Master Plan will be doing her best to keep her mark perfect in the Martha Washington. The Donnie Von Hemel-conditioned filly went four-for-four at Remington Park last year, including a pair of stakes wins in the E. L. Gaylord Memorial and Trapeze S. Ready to Confess also ran at Remington during her juvenile season, breaking her maiden by 6 1/2 lengths, and took a one-mile allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn by a half-length to kick off 2016 on January 15.
Luis Quinonez was the exclusive pilot for both fillies but opted to stick with Ready to Confess in this one, leaving Jareth Loveberry to pick up the mount on My Master Plan.
Completing the Martha Washington field are Lovable Lyss, fourth in the Silverbulletday S. last out following a five-length wire job against allowance/optional claimer rivals at Fair Grounds; Dorodansa, a head runner-up in the Trapeze S. in her juvenile finale and second behind Ready to Confess in her sophomore bow at Oaklawn; and maiden winner Red Fern Doll.