A winner of six out of her seven stateside starts, all this year, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Irish-bred Going Global looms a standout among 11 sophomore fillies going a mile and one quarter on turf in Sunday’s Grade 1, $300,000 American Oaks at Santa Anita. One of three Grade 1 stakes and six Graded events, the American Oaks has been slotted as the final race on a big 11-race card with first post time at 2 p.m. EST.
A winner of her last two starts, the Goldikova Stakes (G2) at one mile on turf Nov. 6 and the Del Mar Oaks (G1) at a mile and one eighth on turf Aug. 21, Going Global has bagged a total of five graded wins for D’Amato in what has been a truly sensational year.
Although she’s in top form, Going Global has never tackled a mile and quarter, so that remains a question with regular rider Flavien Prat set to ride her for the eighth consecutive time. A winner of one of four starts in her native Ireland, Going Global, who is owned by CYBT, Michael Dubb, Saul Gevertz, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano, has seven wins from 11 starts and earnings of $648,792.
Trained by Chad Brown, eastern-based Fluffy Socks comes off a neck win going a mile and one eighth on turf at Belmont Park in the Sands Point Stakes (G2) on Oct. 16 and will be ridden on Sunday for the first time by Mike Smith. Raced exclusively on turf through 10 starts, she has four wins, three seconds and one third place finish but will also be trying a mile and one quarter for the first time. Based at Belmont Park, she has a pair of half mile works over Santa Anita’s main track, most recently, a half in 47.60 on Dec. 19.
Forwardly placed throughout, trainer Michael McCarthy’s Irish-bred Nicest finished third, beaten a half length going a mile and three eighths on turf in Del Mar’s Red Carpet Handicap (G3) Nov. 25 and has the look of a long-fused filly that will appreciate the Oaks distance. Owned by Katsumi Yoshida, Nicest will be making her second start for McCarthy and third in America when ridden for the first time by John Velazquez on Sunday.
In addition to Going Global, D’Amato will also be well represented by Irish-bred Burgoo Alley who has been freshened since taking the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita going one mile on turf Oct. 30. Attentive to the pace in all six of her stateside starts both sprinting and at middle distances, she’ll be trying a mile and one quarter for the first time with regular rider Umberto Rispoli. Owned by CYBT, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano, Burgoo Alley is 9-3-2-1 overall and has two wins from four tries over the Santa Anita lawn.
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Lemon Drop Kid