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Kentucky Oaks 2014 Update - April 27

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ UNTAPABLE posted her final official workout in advance of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (GI), breezing a half-mile in :48.60 under regular exercise rider Angel Garcia. The Oaks favorite accomplished the move through splits of :12, :23.80 and :36.

Churchill Downs clockers also noted her five-furlong gallop-out time of 1:02.80.

The half-mile move was the seventh fastest of 58 at the distance.

The Tapit filly appeared on the track at 6:15 a.m., accompanied by trainer Steve Asmussen aboard a pony. She was very keen galloping down the backside, tossing her head in anticipation of the work to come. Flores broke her off several jumps before the half-mile marker.

“She was very full of herself,” Asmussen said. “I thought Angel did a good job of getting her to the pole because she seemed very physical. She went around there really smooth. She is a filly, obviously, with a tremendous amount of talent, and we will just try to keep her on the ground from here until Friday.”

Flores has been Untapable’s exercise rider since she arrived at Fair Grounds to kick off her 3-year-old season in January and Asmussen said that experience and rapport is coming in handy as they approach their target date.

“Getting her to the pole today, I didn't want to pony her around to the pole and then break her off and then have her be horribly aggressive,” Asmussen said. “That's a lot of horse under you. Everybody can work a slow horse correctly because there aren't a lot of things that can happen, but when you have that much talent to deal with, it puts quite a bit of pressure on you. Come work day for her on race week, he is like, ‘easy baby.’ ”

All indications suggest that Untapable is amped up and ready to cut loose. The remainder of this week will be about managing that enthusiasm.

“Her race (the GII Fair Grounds Oaks) was five weeks ago,” Asmussen said. “She trained so good at the Fair Grounds over the winter, and her races were just tremendous. I think she came here with a lot more in her, with the timing and stuff. With her, I think it is just trying to keep her on the ground, hold what we've got. I wouldn't have minded it being last week.

“We've spent the winter walking her, just walking her around, trying to get patience. Her talent level is not in question, you just want her to show a little patience.”
 
SUGAR SHOCK (No. 2) – On Cloud Nine LLC’s Sugar Shock galloped 1 ½ miles and visited the starting gate after the morning renovation break under exercise rider Seth VanDyke for trainer Doug Anderson.

“She does not like to load and needs a little encouragement so I want the gate crew to get to know her,” Anderson said. “Once she is in there, she is fine.”

Sugar Shock ran twice here last fall with fifh- and third-place finishes. At Oaklawn this year, she won four consecutive races, but was disqualified from the Honeybee (GIII) victory in her first try around two turns.

“I think the difference is a little more maturity,” Anderson said of the turnaround. “In her first start, she did not break well and turning for home ran green. The second time, she was in the one hole and they went :21 and 3 for the first quarter and for a 2-year-old, that’s pretty fast, but she hung on and only got beat 3 ¾ lengths.”

Three months removed from her initial victory, Anderson is surprised he has an Oaks contender.

“She has come a long way,” Anderson said. “I had no idea (she’d be an Oaks filly). She’s a nice filly and she sure has surprised me.

“I know we have not gotten to the bottom of her. Terry Thompson, who rode Kiss Moon in the Fantasy (GIII), said he made three runs at her and each time she had a little more.”

Calvin Borel will have the mount in the Oaks.
 
FASHION PLATE (No. 3) – Arnold Zetcher and Michael Tabor’s two-time Grade I winner Fashion Plate came out of her five-furlong work of 1:00.40 at Santa Anita on Saturday in good order according to trainer Simon Callaghan.

Fashion Plate is scheduled to fly to Louisville early Monday and will be ridden in the Kentucky Oaks by Gary Stevens
 
MY MISS SOPHIA (No. 4) /GOT LUCKY (No. 6) – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Oaks duo returned to the racetrack Sunday morning for light jogs following four-furlongs works at Churchill Downs Saturday.

My Miss Sophia, who had drilled in tandem with Got Lucky in an equal time of :49.40 during the Derby/Oaks training period the day before, came out with the conditioner’s 7:10 a.m. set and jogged a mile under Humberto Zamora. Earlier, Got Lucky and Isabelle Bourez did their mile jog with barnmates at 6:40. Both figured to return to galloping Monday and for the balance of the week leading up to the Friday classic.

My Miss Sophia, a chestnut by Unbridled’s Song, will have Javier Castellano aboard in the nine-furlong Oaks. Got Lucky, a dark filly from the last crop of the stellar stallion A.P. Indy, will have the saddle services of John Velazquez.
 
ROSALIND (No. 5) – Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind walked the shedrow at trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn the morning after working a half-mile in :49.40 and reportedly came out of the work in perfect condition.

“Really good,” said Mike Kleier, assistant to McPeek. “She ate up her feed and everything’s good, like she never even worked.”

Rosalind is scheduled to resume exercising Monday at 8:30 a.m.

“She’ll go back to the track tomorrow to jog a mile, gallop a mile,” Kleier said.
 
AURELIA’S BELLE (No. 7) – Trainer Wayne Catalano didn't have an explanation for his success with fillies, but it's real, and he's hopeful about adding to it with he runs James Miller's Aurelia's Belle on Friday in the Kentucky Oaks.

"I would say it's the way it's working out,'' he said of his record with fillies."We're very lucky in the filly department. We won three Breeders' Cups, three different surfaces.''

His Breeders' Cup winners were Stephanie's Kitten in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII) in 2009, She Be Wild in the Juvenile Fillies (G1) in 2009 and Dreaming of Anna in the Juvenile Fillies (G!) in 2006. She Be Wild and Dreaming of Anna won Eclipse Awards as champion 2-year-old fillies.

Aurelia's Belle, the Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) winner, will be Catalano's second Kentucky Oaks starter. Dreaming of Anna, who finished sixth in 2007, was his first.

"Any of those races, like the Kentucky Derby, the Oaks, all those big races, that's why we're here every morning for seven days a week,'' said Catalano, a 57-year-old New Orleans native.

That's what we get up to go do. It keeps us going. It would mean a lot to me, win the Oaks.

Aurelia's Belle galloped Sunday under exercise rider Calamity Compton.
 
RIA ANTONIA (No. 8) – Christopher Dunn and Loooch Racing Stable’s Ria Antonia galloped 1 1/2 miles Saturday morning.

Trainer Bob Baffert said the filly will have her final work for the Oaks Monday morning.
 
KISS MOON (No. 9) – Carl Pollard’s Kiss Moon worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 after the morning renovation break with Otto Thorwarth aboard for trainer David Vance.

Working on her own, Kiss Moon produced fractions of :12.20, :23.60, :36 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16. The five-eighths move was the seventh fastest of 37 at the distance for the morning.

“I thought the track was a little slower than last week when she worked,” Vance said. “I had 1:01 in mind and he hit it pretty close.”

In her first work since the runner-up effort in the Fantasy (GIII), Kiss Moon had worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 last Monday.

Although she never has raced at Churchill Downs, Kiss Moon is no stranger to the track.

“She came into the barn last September and trained here all fall,” Vance said. “I can’t use the track as an excuse.”

Vance said that Kiss Moon would walk Monday and then gallop the next three days with a possible trip to the gate on Tuesday.
 
FIFTYSHADESOFGOLD (No. 10) – The Estate of Clarence Scharbauer Jr.’s Fiftyshadesofgold jogged a mile early Sunday morning under exercise rider Sara Escudero for trainer Bret Calhoun.

Fiftyshadesofgold finished second, beaten 7 ½ lengths by Untapable, in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start and Calhoun was asked about how to make up that deficit.

“You don’t,” Calhoun said. “She’s by far the best 3-year-old filly in the country and maybe the best 3-year-old period.

“But things happen in a race. Sometimes you don’t get the trip. I don’t see anybody beating her, but you’ve got no shot if you are in the barn.”

Calhoun said a decision likely would come Monday on whether Fiftyshadesofgold would run in the Oaks or the Eight Belles (GIII) the same day.
 
UNBRIDLED FOREVER (No. 11) – Trainer Dallas Stewart said he can't compare the way Unbridled Forever is going into this Oaks with the way her dam, Lemons Forever, went into the Oaks in 2006.

"That was a long time ago,'' said Stewart, who won the Oaks with 47-1 shot Lemons Forever.

“This filly here, I like the way she's worked here, trained here, won here, so, I mean, she'll be ready for battle Friday and see what happens.''

Charles Fipke's Unbridled Forever, the third-place finisher in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), galloped Sunday under exercise rider Pedro Velez. She'll be racing at her home track, where she broke her maiden in her second start as a 2-year-old.

"Whether that's an advantage or not, who knows?'' Stewart said. "But it looks like she likes the track. ... The main thing is, it seems like she's doing well. She's very healthy, knock on wood. She's into the feed tub. She's into her training. She had a good work coming into the race.

"That's all you can ask for, training a horse. There's really no other secret recipe.”
 
THANK YOU MARYLOU (No. 12) – Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou walked in trainer Mike Maker's barn Sunday morning, a day after working five furlongs in 1:01.00.

Thank You Marylou has raced only in stakes. She broke her maiden as a 2-year-old in the Tippett, a turf sprint at Colonial Downs, before finishing third in the Adirondack (GII) at Saratoga. As a 3-year-old, she won the Any Limit at Gulfstream Park and finished third in the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland.
 
EMPRESS OF MIDWAY (No. 13) – Daniel Kramer and Rick Pitino’s Empress of Midway jogged one mile after the morning renovation break at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Humberto Gomez for trainer Doug O’Neill.

As of early Sunday afternoon, no rider had been confirmed on Empress of Midway by O’Neill, who is scheduled to arrive from California on Thursday. 

 

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Nakatani rides Empress of Midway.

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