A rail skimming rally helped 3-2 favorite Lady of Shamrock become a
Grade I winner in the $350,000 American Oaks – Presented by American
Airlines – Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Reunited with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, the 3-year-old Scat
Daddy filly earned her fourth stakes win – two of them graded – in six
starts since joining the barn of trainer John Sadler after being
purchased privately by Hronis Racing LLC.
A first Oaks victory for Sadler was the most significant of a Saturday stakes triple – all graded – for the trainer.
Immediately after the American Oaks, Switch, the 2-1 choice, earned
herself a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint with a
come-from-behind score in the $200,000, Grade II A Gleam Handicap. These
wins came after Scherer Magic, a recent $50,000 claim, had taken the
$150,000, Grade III Hollywood Juvenile Championship.
Saving ground while racing behind a very slow pace set by European
shipper Nayarra, Lady of Shamrock began to move forward entering the
stretch, was placed in tight by Best Present Ever, who had assumed the
lead under jockey Victor Espinoza, but accelerated after the pair bumped
and went on to win by 1 ¼ lengths. The final time for the 1 ¼ miles on
turf was 2:03.19.
Out of the Blushing John mare Blushing Issue, Lady of Shamrock, who
paid $5, $3 and $2.20, won for the fifth time in nine starts. She’s
My Gi Gi, who defeated a troubled Lady of Shamrock by a nose in the
Grade II Honeymoon Handicap June 9, gained second, 1 ½ lengths in front
of Best Present Ever, who was trying to become the first California bred
to win the American Oaks. My Gi Gi returned $5.60 and $3.40 and the
show price on Best Present Ever, who was 10-1, was $4.20.
Completing the order of finish were Miss Cato, Stormy Lucy, Left a Message, Nayarra and 3-1 second choice Colonial Flag.
“I thought at a mile and a quarter (Lady of Shamrock) would
eventually get a lane or a seam,’’ said Sadler. “I’m glad (Smith) didn’t
alter the strategy even though it was paceless race. We still like to
settle and she’s doing really well that way. I clearly think she’s the
best 3-year-old filly on turf in the country.
“In turf racing you need to catch a break, you need to find a lane
and she did. She has a real good turn of foot. We are very excited about
Sadler said another Grade I – the $300,000 Del Mar Oaks Aug. 18 – is
likely next for Lady of Shamrock, who was bred in Kentucky by Greendale
“She was a victim of a slow pace last time and today it worked out
real great where there was a little more pace and I was able to stay in
the pocket the whole way and take advantage of it,’’ said Smith, who
missed the Honeymoon because he was busy finishing second with
Bodemeister in the Belmont Stakes.
“I know what she is capable of, but she was a little on her toes warming up and I was a little bit concerned she might be a little aggressive today, but, honestly, she turned off real well once the gates opened and after that got into a great rhythm.’’