Casual stayed unbeaten Friday and showed herself as a filly who could benefit from this year’s postponed Kentucky Oaks.
The Steven Asmussen trainee built on an impressive debut win April 11 at Oaklawn Park by besting allowance optional claiming company Friday at Churchill Downs.
Casual went off in the seven-furlong trip as the second favorite at 2-1 odds. Chad Brown runner Center Aisle drew 3-5 favoritism off her own impressive debut score March 29 at Gulfstream Park.
Center Aisle broke slow at the start Friday, running last early on in a field of 10 sophomore fillies. She never challenged the leaders, settling for a fifth-place finish.
Meanwhile up front, Nayibeth set fractions of :22.93 and :46.16 with Casual pressing the pace. Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. guided Casual into the lead, and the filly edged clear late for a 1 ¼ length score over 29-1 shot She Can’t Sing.
Casual stopped the clock in 1:22.26 and returned $5.80. She Can’t Sing came home 4 ½ lengths clear of third-place Shadilee.
The Curlin filly Casual is now in line for a stakes opportunity Friday after her second win in as many starts.
Should Asmussen give Casual four weeks between starts, the Grade 1, $300,000 Acorn Stakes goes a mile June 20 at Belmont Park and would be a logical, albeit challenging, next step. Gamine, Perfect Alibi, Tonalist’s Shape and Venetian Harbor are among the 3-year-old fillies targeting the Acorn, which figures to serve as a major prep for the rescheduled Kentucky Oaks on Sept. 4.
Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings Inc. and Stretch Run Ventures, LLC campaign their homebred Casual.