Reigning female sprint champion Shamrock Rose, third on Saturday in Oaklawn Park’s Azeri Stakes (G2), will next likely return to the site of her breakthrough performance last fall, trainer Mark Casse said Tuesday.
Casse mentioned Keeneland’s Grade 1, $300,000 Madison Stakes on April 6 as a possible spot for Conrad Farms’ 4-year-old filly. The Madison would cut Shamrock Rose back to seven furlongs, the same distance she won at in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and the Raven Run Stakes (G2) during Keeneland’s fall meet.
In the Azeri, run at 1 1/16 miles, Shamrock Rose raced in second before advancing to the lead turning for home. Midnight Bisou then took advantage of an opening on the rail to win while Elate got up for second on the outside.
Shamrock Rose won at 8.5 furlongs September’s La Lorgnette Stakes over Woodbine’s Tapeta surface, but she met two of the leading distaff runners in the Azeri.
“I thought she ran really well,” Casse said. “You know, what a race. I mean, three Grade 1 winners running one, two, three. Unfortunately we were the third one of those three. I thought she ran extremely well. I thought David (Cohen) gave her a great ride.
“She had every chance to win. I don’t think I want to mess with those two fillies again. I do believe that she can get two turns, but maybe not at that caliber.”
Midnight Bisou and Elate are both likely to go on to Oaklawn's April 14 Apple Blossom (G1), a race that could also draw Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Monomoy Girl for her 4-year-old debut.
Shamrock Rose, meanwhile, hit her best stride at the end of last summer and won four stakes in a row, topped by the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She broke through in graded stakes company while 18-1 in the Raven Run, then only two weeks later went last to first at Churchill Downs to upset in the championships at 25-1.
The effort helped the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of First Dude earn the Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter over Marley’s Freedom, the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup.
Prior to the Azeri, Shamrock Rose returned in the Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3), also at seven furlongs, on the Pegasus World Cup undercard and finished fourth over a sloppy track in the rain.
Conrad Farms purchased her for $120,000 as a 2-year-old at the April Ocala Breeders’ Sale. She’s since won five of 12 races and has earned $959,962.