The May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) remains a target for the Kenny
McPeek-trained filly KATHMANBLU (Bluegrass Cat), who demonstrated a
clear fondness for the Churchill Downs strip last time when romping home
an 8 1/2-length winner of the Golden Rod S. (G2). She'll take an
untraditional route to get the Oaks when returning to turf for her first
prep in Saturday's $100,000 Sweetest Chant S., at Gulfstream Park over one mile.
A non-entity in her debut on dirt last summer, Kathmanblu's future
looked to be on turf when breaking her maiden over that surface at Ellis
Park in her second start. She improved rapidly enough to finish second
in the P.G. Johnson S. at Saratoga next out and then won the Jessamine
S. at Keeneland by four lengths. The latter heat set her up well for the
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2), and the filly responded with
an encouraging performance at 7-1, rallying from 11th to finish third by
two lengths despite a troubled trip.
The door on a dirt career can not be completely closed with a filly
of Kathmanblu's caliber, so the Golden Rod was used to re-test her dirt
ability. The bay passed with flying colors as the 6-5 favorite,
dominating her opposition and completing the 1 1/16 miles in faster time
than juvenile males ran in the Kentucky Jockey Club S. (G2) later in the
Julian Leparoux, who's ridden Kathmanblu since the Jessmine, retains
the mount in the Sweetest Chant.