Oaks contenders lurking in Golden Rod, Demoiselle

Nov 25, 2016 Vance Hanson/Brisnet.com

In addition to points scoring races for Kentucky Derby (G1) bound colts, Kentucky Oaks (G1) bound fillies will have a pair of points opportunities Saturday at Churchill Downs and Aqueduct. Both races will award Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to their respective top four finishers.

The $200,000 Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill Downs over 1 1/16 miles has attracted a dozen juveniles. Favoritism is likely to fall on Daddys Lil Darling, who captured the Pocahontas (G2) during the Churchill September meet for trainer Ken McPeek. The Normandy Farms homebred acquitted herself in two subsequent Grade 1 appearances, finishing second in the Alcibiades (G1) and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Ever So Clever, second by a half-length in the Pocahontas, rebounded to comfortably defeat allowance foes at Keeneland and has significant upside for Steve Asmussen. Other leading contenders include the top three from the $82,000 Rags to Riches on October 30 — Lovely Bernadette, China Grove, and Farrell — as well as Fun, who's placed in two of three prior graded attempts.

The Mark Casse-trained Dream Dancing, a daughter of Tapit who broke her maiden on turf but disappointed in the Pocahontas and Alcibiades, adds blinkers for the Golden Rod and might improve by showing more tactical foot.

At Aqueduct, the $300,000 Demoiselle (G2) over 1 1/8 miles has come up a competitive affair. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez has three of the nine entrants, including Jamyson 'n Ginger, who romped to a maiden victory by more than 15 lengths in early October at Belmont. Sent straight to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) off that performance, the daughter of Bernardini was checked early and made a modest rally for fifth in a chaotic result.

Rodriguez also has Libby's Tail, a narrowly beaten second in the Frizette (G1) to Yellow Agate, and Bonita Bianca, who steps up in class off consecutive wins in the New York-bred ranks.

Miss Sky Warrior, who landed the one-mile Tempted (G3) earlier this month at the Big A, is another logical threat, as is last-out maiden scorer Ladies Day.

(Coady Photography)

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