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HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Inglorious the Favorite: The Novel Nine

This past weekend offered little in the way of Kentucky Oaks prep action as only two major stakes races were run for 3-year-old fillies but one of the two could be a prelude of better things to come. The Santa Paula Stakes and Cicada Stakes didn’t feature much in the way of proven quality fillies but the Santa Paula result showcased a promising run by Mildly Offensive.
Making the second start of her young career the speedy filly rated just behind California Nectar until the ¼ mile mark and then dragged herself to the lead, full of run and looking very strong. By the time she entered the stretch she was already more than a length in the lead and continued to extend her advantage from there under a hand ride by jockey Rafael Bejarano. She won by 4 ¼ lengths in a time of 1:15.70 on a sloppy track for the 6 ½ furlongs.
This daughter of Sharp Humor is one to keep an eye on for sure but perhaps not for the Kentucky Oaks as no mention has been made yet as to her short term goal this spring. Her gallop out wasn’t particularly strong which prompts me to think she could be at her best running sprint distance races and might not be as effective stretching out.


This weekend’s Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks for 3-year-old fillies lost a leading Kentucky Oaks contender on Monday when Kathmanblu’s connections announced their decision to skip the race in favor of the April 9th Ashland Stakes (gr.1). Apparently trainer Kenny McPeek thinks his filly could use some more time before her next start and he would also like to get a Grade 1 win under her belt. This means that the Bluegrass Cat filly will have almost exactly one month between her Ashland run and the Kentucky Oaks, a schedule that should have her sharper than ever coming into the Oaks. She turned in a bullet 5 furlong move on Saturday finishing in a time of :59.80.

With the withdrawal of Kathmanblu the way is paved for Canadian shipper Inglorious to assume the title of favorite race favorite in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Inglorious finished second to Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds last month in the third start of her career. There should be nothing to stand in the way of this talented filly taking her third stakes victory on Saturday.

[Inglorious is ranked at only #85 on the HRN Kentucky Oaks Contenders page. Is she too low?]

There is little adjustment in this week’s Novel Nine rankings with the biggest change being Inglorious jumping up two spots from #6 to #4.
 
 
The Novel Nine:

1)      Kathmanblu – She skips the Fair Grounds Oaks this Saturday to point instead for the April 9th Ashland Stakes, giving her more time to tune up for her first try at a Grade 1 race since her 3rd place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last November. Running in the Ashland will allow her to enter the Kentucky Oaks one month later sharp and fit.     
2)      Joyful Victory – She understandably hasn’t worked since her rousing Honeybee Stakes victory on March 12th but after such a huge effort in the Honeybee she probably isn’t in need of much conditioning. Next up for the Larry Jones trainee is Oaklawn Park’s Fantasy Stakes on April 10th, just one day after Kathmanblu’s planned run in the Ashland.
3)      Zazu – Since finishing a fast closing second by a neck to Turbulent Descent on March 5th the almost white Tapit filly has not turned in any works which seems a little bit odd. No word yet on where she might run next but wherever and whenever she shows up she will play a pivotal role. Three of her last four races have been in Grade 1’s and she is no stranger to deep fields.
4)      Inglorious – Finishing second in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes only 1 ¼ lengths behind Kathmanblu certainly put a lot of bottom into this talented filly. The Rachel Alexandra was her first start on dirt and only her third career start, she is still learning and should improve off that effort. When she starts in the Fair Grounds Oaks on Saturday I’m betting it will be a much different filly that we see show up.
5)      Dancinginherdreams – Her next start has not been decided yet but The Fantasy Stakes was mentioned as a possibility. She has never run past a mile while winning two of four starts and finishing second twice but she is simply screaming for more distance in her races. Once she stretches out past a mile it’s going to be anybody’s guess how good she could be. She turned in a bullet 1:00.00 5 furlong move last Friday.
6)      R Heat Lightning – Her next start will most likely come in the Gulfstream Oaks (gr.2) on April 2nd where she will be facing the very impressive undefeated filly It’s Tricky. The 1 1/8 mile distance of the Gulfstream Oaks will be a stern test of her distances capabilities. Her latest work, a 5 furlong move in 1:03.15 was far from being impressive.
7)      It’s Tricky – She is undefeated in 3 starts and after her impressive 8 length romp in the Busher Stakes on February 20th It’s Tricky is being given her biggest challenge to date in the Gulfstream Oaks where she will face Grade 1 winner R Heat Lightning. She will be running against a much deeper field than she has ever faced before but something about her seems very compelling, I get the impression that she is a high quality filly who will rise to new challenges with the same level of talent she displayed in her Busher Stakes victory.  
8)      Pomeroy’s Pistol – This daughter of Pomeroy has proved herself one of the tougher sophomore fillies so far this year as she has placed second in two graded stakes races and won the Grade 2 Forward Gal. She likes to be on the lead and has shown an ability to hang on in the stretch against classy fillies to place well. Her next start could come in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes on April 17th over their Polytrack surface.
9)      Gran Lioness – Gran Lioness hung tough in the stretch of the Rachel Alexandra after setting the pace up front but will doubtless have trouble handling the longer distances past the 1 1/16 mile mark with fillies like Kathmanblu and Inglorious around. While she never posts fast works her last two works have been pretty slow, even by her standards. The last was a 4 furlong move in :51.60 on Saturday.
 
Honorable Trio:
Holy Heavens, Dixie City and Wyomia.
Much like the top nine the Honorable Trio remains the same. Dixie City and Holy Heavens both exited their respective 2nd and 3rd place finishing in the Honeybee Stakes in good condition but no immediate plans have been made. The most logical next step would be the Fantasy Stakes for both fillies, especially Holy Heavens who obviously loves Oaklawn’s dirt track.

Wyomia’s next start has not been determined yet. I really liked her win in the Suncoast Stakes on March 12th and have a feeling she will become a strong player in the 3-year-old filly division this year.
 
Photo Courtesy of Michael Burns

 

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Older Comments about Inglorious the Favorite: The Novel Nine...

I was shocked she was so low and aside from the top 5 or so there are quite a few fillies underrated right now, like Pomeroy's Pistol at #48. I agree, Mildly Offensive was visually pretty striking with her move but I'm not convinced she will be able to get distance. She seemed extremely eager to get to the lead early.
Thanks for bringing attention to the ridiculous current rating of Inglorious (and Joyful Victory as well.) They both deserve to be up near the top as you have them. Mildly Offensive is impressive, but both were wet track sprints, so I am in the wait and see mode with her.

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 Meet Brian Appleton 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing is my passion.  It started when at the age of 9 I found a book called Come On Seabiscuit by Ralf Moody on my Mother’s shelf.  Reading that book was one of the most exciting things I ever did as a kid. I read that book so many times that I had entire chapters committed to memory and the dust jacket worn and ripped beyond recognition from so much use. From that point on I was hopelessly addicted, reading every book on horse racing I could get my hands on, especially racehorse biographies. In 2009 I began my own blog called Rail Runner on wordpress and have continued to blog there to this day.

Curlin is probably my favorite racehorse of all time. Being able to attend six of his races will always be one of the highlights of my life. Whenever I need to re-find some inspiration in my life all I need to do is watch one of his incredible victories and relive the memories. Rachel Alexandra ranks right up there too. As any horse racing fan will tell you it’s almost impossible to choose just one favorite and I am no exception. Phar Lap and Citation are another two of my all time favorites and the list could go on and on.

I was homeschooled my entire life by my parents and graduated High School in 2006 at the age of 17.  Currently I am completing my Marketing degree with the hopes of entering the Thoroughbred Horse Racing field as a writer/journalist , or in the marketing/advertising/promotions side of the industry.

It is my dream to someday become a thoroughbred racehorse owner and win major races across the United States. Who wouldn't want that, right?  For about 1 ½ years I was part owner in a racehorse, Lord Greystoke raced, and owned by Hibiscus Stables. I was able to attend one of his races at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, 2009 and it was an incredible experience. While Lord Greystoke finished 7th in the race, being able to stand in an owner’s box not 30 feet away from Penny Chenery’s owner’s box was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Later in the year Lord Greystoke was finally able to break through with a 4 ½ length win which made me feel like one of the world’s most accomplished thoroughbred owners and further fueled my appetite. I think it would be rally neat to win the Appleton Stakes (Gr.3) at Gulfstream Park, even though I'm generally a bigger fan of dirt racing I can't help but think it would be neat for me to win a race with the same name as my last name.

That’s me in a nutshell, just a very passionate, driven young guy that wants to be a part of this amazing sport and share the adventure with other fans.