Silverbulletday S. (G3) winner JODY SLEW (Slew City Slew), who was considered unlikely for Friday's $300,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) Saturday morning due to days of missed training after being cast in her stall last week, was doing much better Sunday morning during training hours and was entered in Friday's main event for three-year-old fillies.
"She jogged a mile and galloped a mile this morning and looked good doing it," trainer Bret Calhoun said shortly after her Sunday training. "She looked very happy out there, so we'll continue to take it day-by-day this week and not make any decisions (on the Fair Grounds Oaks) until we have to. But her performance today was very encouraging for us."
Should Jody Slew run in the Fair Grounds Oaks and win it, she would become the first filly in Fair Grounds history to sweep all three legs of the Crescent City oval's series for three-year-old members of the distaff set, after winning the $75,000 Tiffany Lass S. on January 23 and then coming back to capture the February 20 Silverbulletday.
AILALEA (Pulpit), clearly best in Aqueduct's Tempted S. (G3) on November 7 in the final start of her juvenile campaign, has been installed as the lukewarm 3-1 morning-line choice in the wagering for the 44th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks. During four of the last five local season, the winner of the 1 1/16-mile test has gone on to take the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, and the Todd Pletcher-trained Ailalea will attempt to add her name to that list.
The bay lass returned off a two-month break to run sixth in her only start this winter, the Forward Gal S. (G2) on January 31 at Gulfstream Park. Javier Castellano, who shipped in to ride the Pletcher trainees during Louisiana Derby Preview Day on February 20 and posed in the winner's circle astride two of those that day, will be aboard Ailalea in Friday's race.
Following a 7 3/4-length victory in the Delta Princess S. (G3), QUIET TEMPER (Quiet American) entered the Fair Grounds season with some high expectations and immediately appeared ready to live up to them with a 1 1/4-length score in an allowance/optional claimer at the New Orleans venue. She hasn't visited the winner's circle since, though, finishing a tiring fifth in the Tiffany Lass and just being caught by Jody Slew on the wire of the Silverbulletday after setting the pace in that 8 1/2-furlong event. Assigned 7-2 morning-line second favoritism in the Fair Grounds Oaks, the Dale Romans trainee will keep Robby Albarado in the saddle.
Other contenders in the Fair Grounds Oaks field of 11 include MAMBO FEVER (Stormin Fever) and CHAMPAGNE D'ORO (Medaglia d'Oro). Mambo Fever was second to Ailalea in the Tempted last year and opened her sophomore season with another second in an allowance at Gulfstream Park. She just missed second by a head when finishing third in the Davona Dale S. (G2) at that track last out, and will get David Cohen, last aboard for the Tempted, returning to the irons.
Champagne d'Oro has spent all but one of her seven career starts running on the synthetics in California. She made her dirt debut last out at Fair Grounds and immediately broke her maiden in front-running fashion. John Jacinto retains the mount.