The Martha Washington winner Amie’s Dini walked the shedrow today following Saturday’s five-furlong workout in 1:05.40. “Full speed ahead now,” trainer Ron Moquett said now that her serious training is complete. “It’s our job to keep her happy between now and Friday.”
Moquett orchestrated a 96-1 upset in the 2006 Stephen Foster (GI) at Churchill Downs with Seek Gold, and appreciates the chance to be back in the limelight.
“It’s great to be in races like this,” he said. “When you’ve won a Grade One at a place like Churchill Downs, you really enjoy it and want it to happen again.”
Amie’s Dini will return to the track Monday morning. As for schooling in the paddock this week, Moquett said, “I’ll have to figure out which day is best, but we plan on it.”
AND WHY NOT – Helen K. Groves’ And Why Not walked the shedrow at Barn 42 Sunday morning after registering a “bullet” workout at Churchill Downs the day before. The daughter of Street Cry breezed a half-mile in :46.80 under exercise rider Peter Brette Saturday morning.
Trainer Michael Matz said And Why Not should show a lot of improvement over her seventh-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII), in which she made her 2012 debut on March 31.
“I was really pleased with the way she worked. I know her last race wasn’t what she can do. First of all, I don’t think she was as fit as she should have been, and the track certainly didn’t play into our favor that day or for any horses that come from behind,” Matz said. “Her last two works have been good. She worked good at Keeneland and she worked good here.”
And Why Not capped her 2-year-old campaign at Churchill Downs with a second-place finish in the Pocahontas (GII) in which she closed from 11th to fall less than a length short of catching On Fire Baby.
BELIEVE YOU CAN – Brereton Jones’ homebred Believe You Can turned in her final official workout prior to Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, a bullet five-furlong breeze in :58.80 during the Oaks and Derby training session over a “muddy” main track.
“Strangely enough, that’s exactly the same time that Proud Spell had her pre-Oaks work in at Churchill Downs four years ago,” Jones said. “We were very pleased. She did it very easily. I’m not surprised because she floats, she just goes so easily.”
Proud Spell, of course, was a dominant winner of the 2008 Kentucky Oaks for this same owner-trainer combination and, like Believe You Can, is a daughter of Proud Citizen who won the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her final Kentucky Oaks prep.
Believe You Can, with retired jockey Larry Melancon up, accomplished her five-eighths move through splits of :11.60, :22.80 and :34. She galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.
“The filly picked it up,” trainer Larry Jones said. “We didn’t feel like we had to have a great work out of her today, but I told Larry, let her skip on along. We’re not here to candy coat this thing; this is the race where you put winning works in them. You’re either ready or you’re not and if the work knocks them out then they weren’t ready. We have to let them go out there and show their stuff.”
Believe You Can is two-for-three this year, running only in stakes, with her only disappointment coming in February’s Rachel Alexandra Stakes (GIII) at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, when she finished fourth as the favorite.
“She had had a reaction to a shot that all the horses had,” Brereton Jones said, “but for some reason she had a very negative reaction to it and by the time she got back to the barn she had a big swelling on her neck. I knew that wasn’t her race. We didn’t start making excuses after the race, we just kept quiet, but I felt like that had a negative impact on her and she’d show us the next time how she stacked up against the others.”
BROADWAY’S ALIBI/IN LINGERIE – E. Paul Robsham Stables’ Broadway’s Alibi was confirmed for a start in the Kentucky Oaks Sunday morning after coming out of the previous day’s four-furlong workout at Palm Meadows Training Center in good order.
“She’s doing really well. Everything she’s done this year has been perfect. She handled the mile stretch-out well,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled the daughter of Vindication for a victory in the one-mile Comely (GII) at Aqueduct last time out. “We brought her back here with the idea to let her tell us if she wanted to run in the Oaks or something more conservative. She’s done everything so well, so we decided it was worth a shot.”
Broadway’s Alibi, who breezed a half mile in :48.45 over a sloppy track on Saturday, has won four straight, including the Forward Gal (GII) at Gulfstream in her 3-year-old debut, since finishing second in her career debut at Delaware last summer.
Scheduled to be shipped to Kentucky on Tuesday, Broadway’s Alibi will be ridden by John Velazquez.
Pletcher reported that Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber’s In Lingerie, who had been considered for the Oaks, would race next in the Black-Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico on May 18.
“She’s a pretty lightly raced filly. We felt like it was a more suitable place to step up to a graded stake on dirt. She’s doing very well, but after talking with Aron Wellman (president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners) and Gary Barber we decided to take a little more cautious approach,” Pletcher said. “We just felt it was a better progressive step for her.”
COLONIAL EMPRESS – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas was optimistic Sunday morning in regards to his Kentucky Oaks (GI) hopeful. With news that In Lingerie would not be pointed to Friday’s Run for the Lilies, the maiden Colonial Empress appears to have a spot in the Oaks starting gate. The daughter of 2002 Kentucky Derby (GI) runner-up and Belmont Stakes (GI) winner Empire Maker turned in a routine 1 ½ mile gallop this morning under exercise rider Rudy Colon.
Lukas admits the well-bred filly has been ambitiously placed to date, exclusively raced in stakes in her three career starts.
“We’ve been pushing the envelope a little bit with her getting into stakes races,” Lukas said. “She’s pretty well seasoned now and we’ll try one more big one and then decide if we need to regroup or not in the maiden ranks.”
EDEN’S MOON/JEMIMA’S PEARL – Gillian Campbell, R Group Management Ltd. and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Jemima’s Pearl breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 over the muddy track Sunday morning.
Under rider George Alvarez and working in company with Kentucky Derby-bound stablemate Bodemeister, the Distorted Humor filly’s splits were timed in :37.20 and :48.80. Her six-furlong gallop-out time was 1:13.80. Jemima’s Pearl, third in the Fantasy (G2) in her most recent start, was Bodemeister’s target. She broke off four lengths in front of him and was a neck back when they reached the wire.
“She usually comes off the pace, but she was a good work horse for him,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “She worked really well. She’s had a few outs and has been improving every time. She ran a good race in the Fantasy, so I think she deserves a chance. It’s pretty wide open. It’s a tough race.”
Kaleem Shah’s Eden’s Moon walked the shedrow Sunday, the morning after she breezed six furlongs in 1:14. Baffert said she came out of the work well.
GRACE HALL – One day after a scheduled work was postponed because of track and weather conditions at Palm Meadows Training Center, Grace Hall breezed a half-mile in :52.10 over a sloppy track at the Boynton Beach, Fla. training center Sunday morning.
Exercise rider Carol Fisher was aboard the likely favorite for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, who is owned by Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group.
“In a perfect world, if she had done a half mile (Saturday), that would have been ideal. So this is the next best thing,” trainer Tony Dutrow said. “This isn’t the ideal situation – I’m not going to try my way out of that, but exposed to the circumstances that we had, this is the next best that we could do. We’re hopeful that we get the same results.”
Grace Hall, who finished second behind champion My Miss Auriela in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Churchill Downs last November, captured the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) by 6 ½ lengths in her most recent start.
The daughter of Empire Maker is scheduled to ship from Florida to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
HARD NOT TO LIKE – Trainer Gail Cox sent her Kentucky Oaks filly Hard Not to Like on a one-mile jog and one-mile gallop at Woodbine Race Course Sunday morning as the Hillsbrook Farms filly moved one day closer to her date at Churchill Downs on Friday.
“She’s doing very well,” Cox said. Hard Not to Like will ship to Churchill Downs by van on Tuesday, and Cox will join her on Wednesday.
KARLOVY VARY – Alex Campbell Jr.’s Karlovy Vary walked the shedrow at Barn 28 Sunday morning a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.20.
“She came out of the work fine,” said Jack Bohannan, assistant to trainer Rusty Arnold. “She will go back to the track tomorrow morning.”
Winner of the Central Bank Ashland (GI) at Keeneland in her most recent start, Karlovy Vary will be ridden in the Oaks by James Graham.
OAKS LILY – Jonathan Rey, Javier Sarmiento and Dante Zanelli Jr.’s Oaks Lily galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Patricia Eldridge during the Oaks and Derby training session. The Badge of Silver filly never has run in a graded stakes race and, therefore, will need multiple defections from the current list of probable starters to draw into the field, which is limited to 14 fillies. Oaks Lily is currently 16th among those known to be under consideration.
“Anything can happen,” said Zanelli, the bloodstock agent who co-owns the filly and is managing her preparations this week. “If she doesn’t make it she’ll go to the Black-Eyed Susan. My ultimate goal is to run in the Alabama.”
If Oaks Lily does make the field she would likely be a massive longshot on the basis of her one win from eight starts. What she will have going for her, though, is a story that screenwriters should be waiting to pounce on if she would somehow manage to pull of one of the biggest upsets in Oaks history.
Foaled on May 4, 2009, Zanelli named the filly after consulting the calendar and seeing that the Kentucky Oaks would be run on the same date three years later.
“She had a tough upbringing,” Zanelli said. “She almost died when she was born. And then when she was two months old the dam died – she had a heart attack and we found her in the stall and Oaks Lily was right there next to her. We had to bottle-feed her. At three months she had her leg torn open, right-hind, all the way down to where we could see the bone, in a paddock accident. We worked on it really hard to get it healed but she is so kind she will do whatever and nothing bothers her.”
After failing to meet her reserve at three sales, Zanelli kept the filly and found partners in two of his longtime friends, Rey and Sarmiento, neither of whom have owned a racehorse.
ON FIRE BABY – Anita Cauley’s On Fire Baby stepped on the muddy Churchill Downs track shortly after 6 o’clock Sunday morning and galloped 1 ½ miles under jockey Joe Johnson.
“She has never run on it (a sloppy racetrack), but I think she’ll like it,” trainer Gary Hartlage said. “Her momma (Ornate) liked it and High Heels liked it. I think she will run on anything”
High Heels is a half-sister to On Fire Baby and finished third in the 2007 Kentucky Oaks for Hartlage and Cauley.
One surface Hartlage knows On Fire Baby likes is Churchill Downs.
On Fire Baby arrived in Hartlage’s barn here last May with Barn 37 serving as her home base until she wintered at Oaklawn Park. In her two starts here, she rallied to win the Pocahontas (GII) and then posted a wire-to-wire score in the Golden Rod (GII).
SACRISTY – Peachtree Stable’s Sacristy returned to the track this morning for a light jog in her first on-track presence since Friday’s seven-furlong workout in 1:29. Kelsey Danner, assistant to trainer Wayne Catalano, oversaw the action.
When asked how Sacristy handled the muddy track this morning, Danner quipped, “She didn’t talk today.”
Sacristy will school in the paddock between races this week, but Danner said an exact day and race have not yet been determined.
SUMMER APPLAUSE – Gillian Campbell, R Group Management and Greenwood Lodge Farm’s Summer Applause did not visit the track Sunday, according to Dennis “Peaches” Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun.
“Everything’s fine,” Geier said. “She’ll jog tomorrow, probably, and then gallop up to the race. She’ll probably school Tuesday in the paddock.”
YARA – Peras International’s Yara walked the shedrow at trainer Jose Garoffalo’s Trackside Training Center barn for a second consecutive morning as planned following Friday’s half-mile breeze. Garoffalo said all is well with the Davona Dale (GII) winner, who will van the few miles to Churchill Downs after galloping at Trackside on Tuesday.
Handicappers should note that Yara’s last workout before leaving Calder Race Course for Kentucky was not recorded by track clockers. The five-furlong move on April 20 was clocked by Garoffalo in 1:02, according to Calder publicity staff.
“They didn’t publish it because she came out so early in the morning,” Garoffalo said.
Yara will gallop at Trackside “as soon as the track opens” at 6 a.m. each of the next two mornings at Trackside.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
- END -