Godolphin’s homebred Wet Paint was an apt winner of Saturday’s $200,000 Martha Washington S. on a rainy day at Oaklawn Park. Rallying from last to first in her stakes debut, the Brad Cox filly picked up 20 points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Wet Paint reveled in the wet-fast conditions, having broken her maiden on a sloppy track at Horseshoe Indianapolis last October. The daughter of Blame also appreciated that the favorites helped to set it up for her with an early pace skirmish.
Even-money favorite Defining Purpose was quick into stride, but the 2.10-1 Olivia Twist was intent on grabbing the lead from her entering the clubhouse turn. Defining Purpose grudgingly let her go, then steered around to prompt her down the backstretch. Taxed, a 27-1 longshot, attended Defining Purpose in a stalking spot and contributed to the pressured situation.
At the top of the lane, Defining Purpose and Tax got away from the weakening Olivia Twist. Taxed was doing her best to spring an upset, and ultimately she wore down Defining Purpose.
But Wet Paint, who had been biding her time at the rear, was now revving up. Under Flavien Prat, the 3-1 chance splashed past the dueling leaders to win going away by two lengths. She negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.62 to improve her record to 4-2-1-0, $162,500.
Runner-up Taxed earned eight Oaks points for pulling three-quarters of a length ahead of Defining Purpose. Third-placer Defining Purpose banked six points, upping her total to seven. Next came Take Charge Briana, who opened her account with four points in fourth; hitherto unbeaten Olivia Twist, who received two points in fifth; and Key to Success.
Kentucky-bred Wet Paint is out of the Grade 3-placed Street Cry mare Sky Painter, who is herself a daughter of multiple Grade 2 victress Skylighter. This is the family of Godolphin’s Grade 2-winning turf millionaire Pixelate. Since Wet Paint has surface versatility in her pedigree, it’s logical that she’s also tried turf and synthetic. Her wins, though, have come on off tracks.
Later at Santa Anita, Michael Lund Petersen’s Faiza justified even-money favoritism in the $200,500 Las Virgenes (G3). Now a perfect 3-for-3, the Bob Baffert pupil finished one mile in 1:38.46. Faiza isn’t eligible for Oaks points because her trainer is suspended by Churchill Downs Inc.
Pride of the Nile, who nearly upset Faiza in the Dec. 10 Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos, rallied to miss by a half-length in second here. She added eight points to her ledger for a total of 12.
Justique, from the first crop of Triple Crown champion Justify, made mild headway for third. She pocketed six points, increasing her tally to nine. Both of her losses have come around two turns, so the question remains if Justique is a closing sprinter at heart. She’ll have more opportunities to answer in upcoming preps.
Pacesetting maiden Sweet Trouble tired to fourth, good for four points. Fifth-placer Uncontrollable received two more points, bringing up her total to nine, and Broadway Girls trailed.