Just over seven months ago, Rose to Gold was one of several accomplished young fillies that ascended on Louisville for a loaded edition of the Kentucky Oaks. The preeminent race on the American racing schedule for three-year-old fillies did not go well for the chestnut daughter of Friends Lake. She bumped horses coming out of the Churchill Downs starting gate, and never really got into the grade 1 affair. To literally add injury to insult, the next morning her right front ankle was swollen and a bone chip was found. Other bone chips were also discovered in the X-rays, and surgery ensued. Fortunately, for her fans that have been waiting for her return to the track, the wait is almost over. On Saturday, Rose to Gold is set to make her first race back in the Grade 3 My Charmer Handicap on the Calder turf.
To say that the Sal Santoro trained filly has a good history at the South Florida oval may be understating things a little. In a sensational beginning to her career, Rose to Gold crashed a stakes race last August in her career debut, and more than lived up to her connections faith in her, with an overpowering 13-length romp in the one mile Lindsay Frolic Stakes. Her next start, a month later, also came at Calder, and resulted in more of the same, as she dominated the Brave Raj Stakes to the tune of 13 ½ length runaway.
It wasn’t always easy leaving her Calder base, as she suffered a couple of losses, but Rose to Gold continued to flash her class with graded stakes wins in the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess in November, and the Grade 3 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park in March. By the time Oaklawn’s top race for three-year-old fillies, The Fantasy, rolled around in April, Rose to Gold was already a four-time stakes winner. She was bet down to heavy favoritism of 7-10 and ran like it. Running off to an easy 4 ½ length score in the Fantasy, Rose to Gold had her connections feeling good about her prospects for the Kentucky Oaks, including winning rider, Calvin Borel.
In the seven months since her disappointing run in the Kentucky Oaks, the Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti owned filly enjoyed her rehabilitation time at WinStar Farm, with her own pony to keep her company, and a strengthening program that included work on an underwater treadmill. Returning to training at Calder in July, she has a series of solid works under her belt, and according to Santoro, is training just as she did prior to the surgery.
“She has always been very, very aggressive in the mornings, and she is not training any different than she did prior to getting hurt,” said Santoro. “It’s right exactly where I want her to be. She worked a mile for us in 1:41 under a hold, but the more important thing was the way she galloped out towards the three-eighths (pole). We were pleased with the work this morning.”
Despite being back at the friendly confines of her home base, Rose to Gold will find more to overcome than just the seven-month layoff in the My Charmer. At 1 1/8 miles on the turf, Saturday’s race, for three-year-olds and up, represents Rose to Gold’s first career attempt on the grass. Her trainer explained why he chose the turf race for Rose to Gold’s return to the races.
“It is her home track, she is in familiar surroundings She doesn’t get rattled at all, but I just figured (the turf) would be better for her on her first race back,” said Santoro. “I have been dying to try this horse on the grass, but when we were chasing the points for the Oaks, everything had to be to get the points. That is why we went to Arkansas and all of that. Now we are not under those restraints anymore so we will see how she does.”