Jill Byrne introduces the 137th Kentucky Oaks
(Footage and Image : Kentucky Derby)
KENTUCKY OAKS (Grade 1)
Friday, 6 May 2011
The opening act of this weekend’s showcase gets underway today with a five graded races, including the marquee event for the ladies, the G1 Kentucky Oaks.
Headlining the nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies is Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory (Tapit), who has dominated her rivals this season with a pair of daylight scores, most recently in Oaklawn’s G2 Fantasy Stakes April 10. The 5-2 morning line favourite galloped with trainer Larry Jones up during the training period for Oaks and Derby horses after the renovation break yesterday. “Once again, I took her to the starting gate and stood and galloped a mile and an eighth,” Jones said.
Looking for redemption following a third-place finish in her latest start in the April 9 G1 Ashland Stakes is Five D Thoroughbreds’ Kathmanblu (Bluegrass Cat). “She’s doing fine and we couldn’t be happier,” informed trainer Ken McPeek. A well-reputed closer, the bay hopes to get a quick pace early to set up her closing kick, however, McPeek didn’t rule out any possibilities yesterday. “It’s completely up to (jockey) Julien Leparoux,” McPeek said. “I’m leaving the race strategy completely in his hands and letting him do his thing. She’s ready and we’ve done what we can do.”
Also looking to make her run late is Zazu (Tapit), winner of the February 5 G1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita. Most recently, the grey had to settle for second behind Turbulent Descent (Congrats) in the Santa Anita Oaks March 5. With exercise rider Jose Alferrez in the saddle, the $285,000 yearling purchase went to the track at 6:20 a.m. Thursday for a 1 1/2-mile gallop. “She galloped strong,” affirmed trainer John Sadler. “Both her days over the Churchill’s surface since her arrival Tuesday, she’s galloped well. She schooled well Wednesday, too. I’m happy with how she’s doing.” While the filly has yet to race in the off going, Sadler was unconcerned with how she might handle it should the skies open up this morning. “She’ll handle an ‘off’ track,” Sadler said. “She’s trained on one at Santa Anita this winter and she did fine with it.” Zazu, who breaks from post position six, will be ridden by West Coast based rider Joel Rosario. She is listed as the morning line 4-1 co-second choice in the lineup.
Right Time Racing’s Bouquet Booth (Flower Alley) and Street Storm (Stormy Atlantic) both went to the track yesterday morning. Street Storm, who will be ridden in today’s Kentucky Oaks by Shaun Bridgmohan, jogged before the renovation break alongside her stable pony, while stablemate Bouquet Booth galloped 1 1/2 miles under Alex Castenon during the period devoted to the Classic contenders. “Bouquet Booth has got to step up and run a little faster than she has,” said trainer Steve Margolis. “I like the post position eight and there is a lot of speed in there. I see her sitting maybe six or seven lengths off the pace and tracking the speed.” As for her barn mate he added, “She is more of grinder and I think she will lay back in mid-pack,” he ventured. “The post is good and the question is if she is a Grade 1-type horse and can she step up to that level.” Jockey Robby Albarado is named to ride Bouquet Booth, but the rider was injured Wednesday afternoon when he was kicked in the face by a horse. Margolis indicated a final decision will be made this morning, depending on the rider’s availability.
KENTUCKY OAKS 137
FINAL FIELD AND DRAWS
LILACS AND LACE
SUAVE VOIR FAIRE
Daniel Michael Smithwick
ST. JOHN’S RIVER
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News
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