Turbulent Descent may have set a new stakes record in the
Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1) on Saturday but the talented 3-year-old Congrats filly has
unfortunately been removed from consideration for the Kentucky Oaks on May 6th.
She will instead be pointed for one turn races throughout the year where
trainer Mike Puype feels she will be less vulnerable. In the 1 1/16 mile Santa
Anita Oaks Turbulent Descent was all out to hold off a fast-closing Zazu by a
neck and while both fillies were absolutely flying at the end it was Zazu who
caught the eye with her fleet-footed move. Unlike Turbulent Descent the nearly
white filly has her sights set firmly on the Kentucky Oaks. Her blazingly fast move
came up just short in the Santa Anita Oaks but a few strides past the wire she
was already a length in front of Turbulent Descent and kept running out around
the turn. She will appreciate stretching out to the 1 1/8 mile distance in the
Kentucky Oaks just as much as Dancinginherdreams will. The two horses flying
home late in the 137th Kentucky Oaks this year could well turn out
to be two striking grays.
Turbulent Descent may be off the Oaks trail but I think
Mike Puype might be underestimating her distance abilities. She did run the
fastest Santa Anita Oaks in history, breaking a 31 year old record and in a
race only 1/16 of a mile shorter in distance. She employs a powerful run from
well off the pace that would suit her well going farther.
In other Kentucky Oaks related news undefeated filly It’s
Tricky could be headed for a potential showdown with Davona Dale(gr.2) winner R
Heat Lightning in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks on April 2nd. After showing
a new dimension when winning the Busher Stakes by 8 lengths on February 20th
trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has decided to test his talented charge in deeper
waters. It’s Tricky will be facing a tough competitor in R Heat Lightning if
the two fillies wind up facing each other in the Gulfstream Oaks but she might
just be up to the challenge.
[Is It's Tricky ranked too low at #22 on the HRN's Kentucky Oaks Contenders list?]
Joyful Victory was last seen finishing 5th in
the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr.1) in early November after finishing
third behind A Z Warrior and R Heat Lightning in the Grade 1 Frizette at
Belmont Park. Now after more than four months away from the races Joyful
Victory is set to make her 2011 debut in the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn
Park on Saturday. She could be facing Rigoletta in the Honeybee.
After finishing a less than inspiring 5th in
the La Habra Stakes (gr.3) on February 21st Rigoletta has turned in
two works. Her last move was a bullet 5 furlong move in :58.40 showing that she
will be much sharper in her second start of the year. Joyful Victory will also
be entering the Honeybee off a 5 furlong bullet move that she completed in an excellent
time of :58.80. She will be making just the fourth start of her career but if
she can improve off the glimpses of talent and class she displayed last year
she could end up winning and making a good case for her Kentucky Oaks
The Novel Nine:
– She is still the only filly this year to defeat two graded stakes fields with
authority. According to trainer Kenny McPeek his star pupil wasn’t cranked up
all the way in her Rachel Alexandra Stakes win and will be much tougher in her
next start. If she gets any tougher she’ll be virtually unbeatable. The three
top choices for her next start right now are the Gulfstream Oaks, Fair Grounds
Oaks and possibly the Ashland Stakes.
Zazu almost made it two-in-a-row when she missed
by a neck in the Santa Anita Oaks. She made up a tremendous amount of ground in
a very short time in the Santa Anita Oaks and still keeps running better and
better each time out. Trainer John Sadler was very happy with her Santa Anita
Oaks effort, stating that he thought she might have won if the race was a
– She still has the potential to become the leading Kentucky Oaks contender if
she can come out of her distant second place finish in the Davona Dale with a decisive
win in her next start. Her next race has not been selected yet but it will be a
rout race for sure which bodes well for her running style.
Lightning – The Davona Dale was the most powerful win by a sophomore filly
so far this year in a graded stakes race. Her next start could come in the
Gulfstream Oaks where she could possibly face the undefeated It’s Tricky and
there’s a remote possibility she could also face Kathmanblu. There is a lot of
upside to this filly. She improved significantly in her second start of the
year and if she improves again in her third start of the year it’s going to
take monster effort to beat her.
– She has turned in one 5 furlong breeze at Fair Grounds since her solid
second place finish to Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr.3) going
the distance in 1:01.00. The Rachel Alexandra Stakes was only the third start
of her career and her first race on dirt against the country’s leading Kentucky
Oaks contender and she only lost by 1 ¼ lengths. She could start next in the
Fair Grounds on March 26th.
6) It’s Tricky – Her 8 length win in the
Busher Stakes looks better and better. She hasn’t defeated much in the way of
quality competition but it’s the way she wins that is impressive. She will be
up against a much tougher field in the Gulfstream Oaks, including Davona Dale
winner R Heat Lightning.
7) Pomeroy’s Pistol – In three starts this
year she hasn’t finished worse than third and all in graded stakes races. She
finished a distance third to R Heat Lightning in the Davona Dale but almost
beat out Dancinginherdreams again for the second spot.
Lioness – She hasn’t registered any works since the Rachel Alexandra Stakes
(gr.3) and her next start hasn’t been decided but whenever she shows up she’s
tough as nails to beat. One thing you can always count on is that she will run
a competitive race.
9) A Z Warrior – She ran a solid race in
her 2011 debut to finish third behind the exceptional runs of Turbulent Descent
and Zazu in the Santa Anita Oaks. She will get some much needed conditioning
out of the race and you can bet her second effort of the year will be much
Royal Delta, Alec’s Moon and Joyful Victory.
Photo Courtesy of Benoit Photo.