(Crazy Beautiful / All Photos by Holly M. Smith)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’Maracuja made her initial appearance on the track at Churchill Downs galloping during the 7:30-7:45 training window for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses.
Trained by Rob Atras, Maracuja had arrived from Belmont Park Monday morning.
AVA’S GRACE – Cypress Creek Equine’s Ava’s Grace continues to give her trainer Robertino Diodoro confidence as she trains toward Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. Tuesday she went out at her normal 5:15 a.m. time and galloped 1 1/2 miles.
The Kentucky Oaks will be the third start of the year for Ava’s Grace and her second career start around two turns.
“She’s doing really good,” Diodoro said. “She worked very well over the track. I don’t think she was tight enough in the Fantasy Stakes (GII) (when second), which was her first start around two turns, but she still ran great. She should be good and right for this race.”
Ava’s Grace drew post seven of 14 for the Oaks.
“Speed is all to the inside, so that’s good,” Diodoro said. “I’m really happy with the post. With our plan, we don’t have to be on the lead, but she’ll be close.”
CLAIRIERE, PAULINE’S PEARL – Stonestreet Stables’ homebreds Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere both galloped 1 1/8 miles and schooled in the paddock during Tuesday’s races, according to trainer Steve Asmussen. Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere both drew inside for the Oaks during the Monday draw, with the former getting the potentially tricky rail, while the latter in post three. Asmussen took a diplomatic approach to something that was out of his hands.
“All draws are the same; you never know to complain until after the races are run.”
COACH, TRAVEL COLUMN – Trainer Brad Cox’s duo of Oaks fillies Coach and Travel Column were scheduled to school in Race 4 Tuesday at Churchill Downs.
Both fillies galloped 1 ½ miles about seven hours prior to the paddock schooling.
COMPETITIVE SPEED – John Minchello’s Competitive Speed galloped two miles under exercise rider Anthony Gallo during the 7:30-7:45 training period for Derby and Oaks horses.
Trained by Javier Gonzalez, Competitive Speed is the only entrant in this year’s Oaks to have raced for a claiming tag … a $25,000 maiden claimer at Gulfstream Park West in November that she won.
“She has passed my expectations,” Gonzalez said Tuesday morning. “After her second win (by 4 ½ lengths) in an allowance race, I was really impressed with her.”
Third-place finishes in the Davona Dale (GII) and Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) gave Competitive Speed 30 points on the Road to the Oaks, a total that initially was not in the top point earners that would make up the field.
But Gonzalez went ahead and vanned Competitive Speed to Louisville from South Florida on April 18.
“We had a lot of faith that she would be entered (for the Oaks),” Gonzalez said. “She also was nominated to the Eight Belles (GII), so if she was not in the Oaks, we would run there.”
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s Crazy Beautiful went out to the track with other Derby and Oaks contenders, including stablemate King Fury, at the 7:30 a.m. training period. Just like her stablemate, she galloped 1 ½ miles, with exercise rider Danny Ramsey aboard, said Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek.
MALATHAAT – The good-looking bay filly Malathaat was out early Tuesday morning for trainer Todd Pletcher as she went trackside at 6 a.m. at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Curlin had her regular morning partner aboard for the trip around the big oval, galloping smartly toward the middle of the track.
“She went well,” reported rider Amelia Green after the exercise. “We probably got about a mile and a quarter.”
Malathaat has been to the post four times in her short career, coming away a winner on each occasion. Most recently she captured the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 3.
Her stellar record, her fine breeding (she’s out of an A.P. Indy mare), her first-rate connections (Pletcher, rider John Velazquez and Shadwell Stable) all combined to make her the 5-2 morning line favorite for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. She’ll break from post 10 in the 14-horse lineup.
MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja made her first appearance under the famed Twin Spires Tuesday morning, as she stretched her legs with a light jog for trainer Rob Atras. The daughter of Honor Code arrived from Belmont Park Monday and figures to ramp up her activity and gallop Wednesday morning.
MILLEFEUILLE – Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille visited the paddock and then galloped 1 3/8 miles under Ailsa Morrison. The filly is scheduled to school with horses in Tuesday afternoon’s first race.
Trained by Bill Mott, Millefeuille drew post 14 for Friday’s Oaks.
“In the Derby, I don’t mind the outside post,” Mott said, quickly adding, “We won one from the 20 … actually the 18 after two scratches, with Country House. You have another eighth of a mile to the first turn (in the Derby as opposed to the Oaks) and that makes a big difference.”
MORAZ – Trainer Michael McCarthy sent his Empire Maker filly Moraz through a lung-filling mile and one-half gallop Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs with regular exercise rider Olha Krushevska on board. The Don Alberto Stable 3-year-old continues to train well for her date Friday in the 147th edition of the Kentucky Oaks, a nine-furlong test that carries a purse of $1.25 million.
“She’s doing good; I’m very pleased,” the conditioner offered.
Moraz drew post eight Monday and was posted at 30-1 on the morning line in the 14-horse field. She’ll have the saddle services of California’s top rider, Flavien Prat, for the Oaks.
This will be McCarthy’s second Oaks runner. He finished third with Speech last year behind winner Shedaresthedevil.
PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – R.A. Hill Stable et. al’s Pass the Champagne got acquainted with the Churchill Downs track for the first time and was accompanied by her trainer George Weaver on the pony during the special 7:30 a.m. training time. The filly, who arrived early Monday a.m. after a van ride from her South Florida base, galloped once around with exercise rider Cindy Hutter, wife of the trainer.
The Flatter filly is coming off a narrow loss to 5-2 Kentucky Oaks favorite Malathaatin the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. She was installed at odds of 15-1 after drawing post 5.
SEARCH RESULTS – Klaravich Stables’ Search Results again galloped 1 3/8 miles Tuesday morning for trainer Chad Brown, who has noted all week that she seems to get over the Churchill main track extremely well. Like his Derby starter Highly Motivated, Search Results will school in the paddock during the races, most likely during the Wednesday card. As for drawing post 12 for the Oaks late Monday morning, Brown wasn’t that concerned.
“She’s out a couple spots further than I would have picked but we’re tactical, with not a crazy amount of speed in the race,” Brown said. “I’m hoping she breaks cleanly and can glide up there in the first flight and get a good position (into the first turn).”
WILL’S SECRET – Willis Horton’s Honeybee (GIII) winner Will’s Secret galloped with exercise rider Lee Guidry in the saddle for trainer Dallas Stewart.
THE FIELD FOR THE $1.25 MILLION LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS –Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1), Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche, 20-1), Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione, 5-1), Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz, 15-1), Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano, 15-1), Travel Column (Florent Geroux, 3-1), Ava’s Grace(David Cohen, 50-1), Moraz (Flavien Prat (30-1), Coach (Luis Saez, 50-1), Malathaat(John Velazquez, 5-2), Will’s Secret (Jon Court, 30-1), Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr., 3-1),Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros, 50-1), Millefeuille (Joel Rosario, 20-1). All starters will carry 121 pounds.