Once again this year, the Grade II Fair Grounds Oaks
is likely to serve as a preview of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks five weeks
On Saturday morning, the connections of the first four
horses under the wire in Friday’s 44th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks all
admitted that the Kentucky Oaks on April 30 is their next planned target, and
the fact that four of the last five Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to
win the Kentucky Oaks underlines the strong connection between the two
Churchill Downs Incorporated properties.
Of course Mark Stanley’s Quiet Temper, as the
half-length heroine of Friday’s Fair Grounds Oaks, becomes the only filly with
a chance to extend that win parlay to five-out-of-six, and her trainer Dale
Romans updated her status during training hours Saturday morning.
“She looks good,” Romans said. “She came out of the race
fine and she will leave for Kentucky
Monday morning. She’s a really good filly. I’ve only been fortunate enough to
saddle one other filly in the Kentucky Oaks. Her name was Sweeping Story and
she finished third behind Silverbulletday in 1999. I’m looking forward to going
back there with this one.”
Southern Equine Stable’s Champagne
d’Oro made the pace in all but the last strides of Friday’s Fair Grounds
Oaks at almost 13-1 before being collared by the winner, but gamely held the
place, finishing a neck to the good of the dead-heated third place finishers.
Trainer Eric Guillot was asked what the plans were for the future.
“Everything is good with us this morning,” said Guillot.
“We’re looking at the Kentucky Oaks for her next start. I think leaving from
the 10-hole cost us the race. I wish those two heads yesterday finished the
other way around. But that’s horseracing. It can be very stressful if you let
it get to you. I got in this game to have fun. I didn’t get in it to make a lot
of money. If you let it get to you, you could die of a heart attack before you
get to 50 years old. I just don’t let it get to me.”
L.T.B. Inc and Miles Childers’ Sheer Beauty and
Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Title finished on even terms for the show
spot in Friday’s Oaks and both appear headed to Louisville.
“Absolutely,” said trainer Bernie Flint, when asked
if Sheer Beauty was going to be pointed to the Kentucky Oaks. “That’s home to
us and Louisville
is where we’re headed. She was flying at the end yesterday. That was a good
race for me. She wants to go longer. The extra ground (sixteenth of a mile)
will really help us.”
“That’s our plan,” said Dallas Stewart, Seeking the
Title’s trainer on Saturday morning, when asked if that daughter of Seeking
the Gold would be pointed for the Kentucky Oaks. “We’re looking forward to
going to Louisville
(and the Kentucky Oaks) with her, and everything is OK with her this morning.”
Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Jody Slew, who
won the first two legs of Fair Grounds’ sophomore filly series before running
seventh in the Oaks after days of missed training, may still be pointed to the
Kentucky Oaks. “She wasn’t quite ready today,” said trainer Bret Calhoun
immediately after Friday’s race. “We just wanted to keep her on schedule.
Hopefully, we’ll continue to move forward with her.”
Rachel Alexandra Looking Good in Sunday Gallop; Work to
Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra came on the Fair
Grounds race track for a gallop during training hours at about 6:30 a.m.
Sunday, one day prior to her next scheduled work Monday morning.
“This morning she was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen her
the day before a work,” said Fair Grounds clocker Billy Pettingill. “She
just went about her business and looked terrific going along out there. It was
a really good morning for her.”
Pletcher-Trained Trio Gets Away Early Sunday Morning
Saturday’s $750,000 Louisiana Derby champion Mission
Impazible, owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stable; New Orleans Handicap hero Battle
Plan, owned by Overbrook Farm; and Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap winner Blues
Street, owned by Anstu Stables, all came out of their Louisiana Derby Day
races without issues and shipped out from New Orleans at about 7 a.m. Sunday,
according to stall superintendent Mario Torres.
All three of Saturday’s Grade II stakes winners are conditioned
by Todd Pletcher, who won his second Louisiana Derby in four years after
saddling Michael and Doreen Tabor’s Circular Quay to take down winning
honors in the 2007 renewal.
Likely to Get Blinkers Back On
Farm’s Hotep, the full-brother to that farm’s 2009 Queen’s Plate winner Eye
of the Leopard, came out of Saturday’s Louisiana Derby without problems
despite his 11th-place finish in the showcase race of the Fair Grounds season.
came back too good,” joked trainer Mark Frostad Sunday morning. “He
didn’t even drink much water after the race. It might be time to put the
blinkers back on him. He’s just not putting out.”