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Wide Open American Oaks Lures Nine

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park
My Gi Gi, Lady of Shamrock and Stormy Lucy, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 9, will square off again in the Grade I, $350,000 American Oaks – Presented by American Airlines – Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Owned by a partnership and trained by Peter Eurton, My Gi Gi got the better of favored Lady of Shamrock by a nose in the Honeymoon. The win was the first in a graded stakes for the E Dubai filly out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Relish the Thought.

Purchased privately by her current connections prior to a nose loss to Bobina in the Grade III Senorita Stakes May 5, My Gi Gi has two wins in seven starts and earnings of $157,540.

Trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC, Lady of Shamrock had a two race win streak snapped last month. A winner of three turf stakes during Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring season, the daughter of Scat Daddy and the Blushing John mare Blushing Issue has won four of eight and banked $255,400.

Before losing by a half-length in the Honeymoon, Stormy Lucy had won three in a row at Golden Gate Fields for owner Frank Gaunt and trainer Frank Lucarelli.

The Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Dixieland Band mare Here Comes Lucinda, who broke her maiden against $30,000 maidens over Cushion Track last Dec. 11, has won four of nine and earned $109,045.

The Oaks cast also includes the second and fourth place finishers in the Grade III Regret June 16 at Churchill Downs.

If Colonial Flag or Left a Message are successful Saturday, they wouldn’t be the first filly to win the Oaks after making their previous start in Kentucky. Pure Clan shipped here for the late Bob Holthus and prevailed in 2008. The daughter of Pure Prize was the first horse Holthus – 74 at the time – had ever raced in California.

Owned by Glen Skara Stable, William S. Farish and ENL Stables LLC, Colonial Flag is conditioned by Michael Matz, best known for training 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro and Union Rags, who won the Belmont Stakes June 9 before being sidelined with a season-ending injury.

Defeated by one length by Centre Court in her graded debut in the Regret, Colonial Flag has won two of four and banked $98,075. The daughter of Pleasant Tap and the Smart Strike mare Silk n’Sapphire has won two of four.

Left a Message has two wins in four races and earnings of $68,788. The Mr. Greeley filly out of the Deputy Minister mare Chief Secretary is owned by Glen Hill Farm and trained by Tom Proctor.

Like 2003 winner Dimitrova, Miss Cato and Nayarra will start in the Oaks after making their most recent start in Europe.

Trained by Rae Guest for Three Chimneys Racing LLC, Miss Cato has won four of seven. The English bred, who has not been worse than third and earned $25,447, is a daughter of Notnowcato and the Desert King mare Regal Fairy.

Owned by Prince A.A. Faisal and trained by Mick Channon, Nayarra has one win 13 starts and a bankroll of $222,548. She was last seen trailing in the Group I Epsom Oaks June 1 in England.

Beaten a nose by Better Lucky in the Grade II Sands Point May 28 at Belmont Park, Regalo Mia will be competing at her sixth different track – in what will only be her seventh lifetime start – Saturday.

Trained by Michelle Nihei for owner Steven Ciccarone, the Sligo Bay filly out of the Red Bullet mare has won once and earned $137,200. Never worse than third, Regalo Mia raced at Saratoga, Gulfstream Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Keeneland prior to her narrow defeat at Belmont.

There have been two American Oaks winners – Wait a While (2006) and Gozzip Girl (2009) – who scored after making their previous start at Belmont Park.

The hottest member of the Oaks field is Best Present Ever. A California bred filly by Unusual Heat out of the Beau Genius mare Centerofattention, she has won three in a row on turf for owner-breeders Dennis and Norine Grenier and trainer Eric Kruljac. This will be the first appearance in a graded race for Best Present Ever, who won the restricted Campanile June 2 at Golden Gate.

From inside out, the field for the 11th American Oaks: Stormy Lucy, Eswan Flores rides, 121 pounds; Lady of Shamrock, Mike Smith, 121; Best Present Ever, Victor Espinoza, 121; My Gi Gi, Joe Talamo, 121; Regalo Mia, Rafael Bejarano, 121; Left a Message, Yuichi Fukunaga, 121; Miss Cato, Garrett Gomez, 121; Nayarra, Corey Nakatani, 121 and Colonial Flag, Rajiv Maragh, 121.

 

 

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