A Grade I winner over Polytrack, Emollient will make her first start on turf in the $350,000 American Oaks Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
A Grade I at 1 ¼ miles, the American Oaks is one of four stakes to be offered the next-to-last day of the Spring/Summer meet. The others are the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap, a Grade II for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs over Cushion Track and a pair of six-furlong races for 2-year-olds – the Grade III, $150,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship and the $150,000 Landaluce for fillies.
Owned by breeder Juddmonte Farms, Inc. and trained by Bill Mott, Emollient was a nine-length winner of the Grade I Ashland April 6 at Keeneland, leading throughout in her initial collaboration with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
A daughter of Empire Maker and the Touch Gold mare, Emollient failed to fire in the Grade II Black Eyed Susan May 17 at Pimlico, finishing a well-beaten sixth as the 4-5 favorite.
A winner of three of seven with earnings of $446,900, Emollient worked twice over the grass at Belmont Park, including a 1:13 1/5 drill for six furlongs that was termed breezing by track clockers.
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998, Mott is no stranger to Grade I success at Hollywood Park. His local victories include the 1992 Hollywood Derby with Paradise Creek and Matriarch (Duda) and Gold Cup (Cigar) in 1995.
Smith retains the mount on the bay as he tries to join Martin Garcia and Kent Desormeaux as a two-time winner of the American Oaks. Garcia won with Harmonious in 2010 and Nereid, who finished in a dead heat with Cambina, in 2011. Desormeaux’s victories came aboard Ticker Tape (2004) and Gozzip Girl (2009).
Emotional Kitten will make her first start in California since trailing in the Cinderella Stakes over a year ago.
Owned by breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Wesley Ward, the Kitten’s Joy filly out of the Ghazi mare Silent Emotion arrives having won two in a row – both by a nose – on turf.
Emotional Kitten won a $53,655 allowance April 7 at Keeneland before edging Summer of Fun in the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes May 17 at Pimlico. She’s won three of 10 and earned $133,815.
Sarach, Scarlet Strike, Macha and Becky Lou – the first four finishers in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 8 – will provide most of the opposition for the two shippers.
Owned by breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Sarach led all the way at 8-1 in the Honeymoon for her first stakes victory.
A daughter of Arch and the Atticus mare Eximius, Sarach has won three of eight and earned $168,742.
Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer will saddle both Scarlet Strike and Macha.
Second as the odds-on favorite in the Grade III Senorita Stakes May 11 and the Honeymoon, Scarlet Strike has won twice and earned $382,340.
Owned by a partnership that includes Hollendorfer, John Carver and Green Smith, the Smart Strike filly out of the French Deputy mare Scarlet Tango has not finished worse than third in her 12-race career.
A New York-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior and the Giant’s Causeway mare Giant Leap, Macha has two wins in eight starts for Hollendorfer and Green B. Smith, Jr. She’s banked $90,020.
Never off the board in four races on grass, Macha earned her sole turf victory by 2 ½ lengths in a $54,250 allowance May 17 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Beaten two lengths while splitting the field in the Honeymoon, Becky Lou has won twice in seven starts. The Johannesburg filly out of the El Corredor mare Elle Nicole has earned $53,796. Matt Chew trains for Daniel O’Neill.
Completing the field are Wittgenstein and Topic.
Owned by Reddam Racing, LLC and trained by Doug O’Neill, Wittgenstein finished seventh in the Honeymoon in her first start over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf.
The Irish-bred daughter of Shamardal and the Definite Article mare La Vita E Bella has won two of 13 and earned $76,415.
Trained by Hall of Famer Neil Drysdale for owners Alice Bamford and Anthony Speelman, Topic defeated maidens by 2 ¼ lengths June 13. Her first victory came in her sixth start. A Discreet Cat filly out of the Quiet American mare Quiet Maggy, Topic has banked $46,590.
From inside out, the field for the 12th American Oaks: Sarach, Martin Garcia rides, 121 pounds; Macha, Gary Stevens, 121; Emollient, Mike Smith, 121; Emotional Kitten, Victor Espinoza, 121; Scarlet Strike, Rafael Bejarano, 121; Becky Lou, Joe Talamo, 121; Wittgenstein, Mario Gutierrez, 121 and Topic, Garrett Gomez, 121.