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HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Kentucky Oaks Novel Nine

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 contention.




The Novel Nine:


1)      Kathmanblu – 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.   
2)      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 little longer.
3)      Dancinginherdreams – 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.
4)      R Heat 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.  
5)      Inglorious – 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.
8)      Gran 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 improved.
 
 
Honorable Trio:
Royal Delta, Alec’s Moon and Joyful Victory.

Photo Courtesy of Benoit Photo.
 

 

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Older Comments about Kentucky Oaks Novel Nine...

I was very sursprised her odds were so high as well, I can't figure how they placed her behind R Heat Lightning, Dacninginherdreams and Zazu, it's pretty clear she's the leader of the division right now. Dancinginherdreams is definitely me second choice for the Oaks right now, I think she could end up beind better than Kathmanblu. Unfortunately I felt she should be dropped a spot because Zazu has been running so well and her last race she appeared to flatten out in the stretch. I'm hoping Inglorious heads for the Oaks, it would make for an exceptionally strong field if the majority of these fillies wind up in the gate.
Kathmanblu remains my top choice ... I was surprised to see she is 12-1 on the Oaks Pool ML. I am not sure who I like 2nd best between Dancing, Zazu and Tricky, my guess is Dancing but I will have to see how she rebounds from a dull performance in the Davona Dale. I do not think R Heat wants 9 furlongs at Churchill. I already placed a future bet on Inglorious for the Queen's Plate :)

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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.