(Travel Column / Coady Photography)
From the Churchill Downs Media Team:
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS UPDATE – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat has been installed as the 5-2 favorite in a field of 14 fillies entered Monday morning for Friday’s 147th running of the $1.25 LonginesKentucky Oaks (GI).
AVA’S GRACE – Trainer Robertino Diodoro was monitoring the Kentucky Oaks draw on his drive from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Louisville and was pleased when he learned his Fantasy Stakes runner-up Ava’s Grace had drawn post position seven.
“I think it’s good,” Diodoro said. “It looks Iike the speed is to the inside of us, which is good.”
Ava’s Grace galloped 1 ½ miles under Walter Davila early Monday.
Diodoro said he’s pleased with how his filly is coming into the race.
“She’s good, very good,” he said. “I was there for her work, which was very good (last Friday). We just have to keep her healthy and happy until Friday.”
CLAIRIERE, PAULINE’S PEARL – Stonestreet Stables’ homebreds Pauline’s Pearl and Clairiere both walked the shedrow Monday morning, a day after completing their final Oaks preparations for trainer Steve Asmussen, and are scheduled to go back to the track Tuesday morning.
Pauline’s Pearl drew the rail for the Oaks while stablemate Clairiere drew post three.
COACH, TRAVEL COLUMN – Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) winner Travel Column galloped 1 ½ miles during trainer Brad Cox’s first set of training at 5:15 a.m.
“I’m hoping we draw somewhere in the middle of the gate with speed to our inside,” jockey Florent Gerouxsaid about one hour prior to the draw.
Geroux’s wish was granted when Travel Column drew post six for the Oaks.
Kueber Racing’s Coach galloped 1 ½ miles at 5:45 a.m. and drew post nine for the Oaks. Luis Saez has the call.
“It’s great being a Louisville guy having a horse in the Oaks,” owner Rick Kueber said. “It’s the most exciting time of year in this city and it’s really special to be involved in this race as an owner.”
COMPETITIVE SPEED – John Minchello’s Competitive Speed jogged two miles under exercise rider Anthony Gallo for trainer Javier Gonzalez.
Third in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, Competitive Speed drew post position 13 for Friday’s Oaks in which she will be ridden by Chris Landeros.
“I was hoping for something between the seven and the nine, but that is OK,” Gonzalez said. “There is a long run to the first turn and he can move in and get a good position without losing much ground.”
(Crazy Beautiful / Coady Photography)
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s Crazy Beautiful took to the track along with her stablemate, Derby contender King Fury, during the training period reserved for horses pointed to the two big races Friday and Saturday. Following a quiet Sunday morning at trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn, the filly had an easy jog and a gallop with exercise rider Danny Ramsey.
“She’s coming into this thing like a beast,” McPeek said. “I’ve been watching some of the others out there, and I feel pretty confident that we’ll get a piece of it.”
And if Crazy Beautiful delivers? McPeek said his reaction would be: “About time. I’ve been second three times and fourth three times. We’ve run well, and if you keep doing that, eventually you’re going to get it.”
MALATHAAT – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat went to the racetrack at 7:30 during the special training period and exercise rider Amelia Green was at the controls for a visit to the gate and a 1 3/8-mile gallop as she readies for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.
How did she handle the gate, Green was asked? “Perfect,” was the answer. The gallop was a good one, too, she noted.
Malathaat drew post 10 for Friday’s Oaks.
“I’m basically fine with the draw,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I probably would have preferred to be a bit more toward the middle but if it was a case of drawing inside or outside, I’ll take the outside. It’ll work out fine.”
The bay Curlin filly is four-for-four in her brief career, most recently ringing the bell in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 3. She’ll be handled by Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez Friday and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the $1.25 million “Run for the Lillies.”
MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja completed her journey from Elmont, New York, arriving at Churchill Downs Monday morning for trainer Rob Atras. The daughter of Honor Code was second in Aqueduct’s April 3 Gazelle (G3) and will get her first feel for the Churchill Downs main track Tuesday morning.
She drew post two in the Oaks.
“I think the draw is fine,” Atras said. “In two-turn races I would prefer a middle draw but being down inside isn’t necessarily bad either. Hopefully, we can save some ground into the turn and not get shuffled back. My filly doesn’t have a lot of tactical speed so it’s not that big of a deal since we weren’t going to be going to the lead early anyway.”
MILLEFEUILLE – Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille galloped a little more than a mile under exercise rider Ailsa Morrison on the filly’s first day back on the track following a bullet work of :59.60 on Saturday.
Trained by Bill Mott, Millefeuille drew post position 14 for Friday’s Oaks.
MORAZ – Don Alberto Stable’s homebred filly Moraz took advantage of the 7:30-7:45 a.m. training period at Churchill Downs Monday to stretch her legs as she moves closer to her Kentucky Oaks date this Friday. Trainer Michael McCarthy was on the scene for her 1 ¼-mile gallop after returning from the Bay Area and Golden Gate Fields in California where he had run six of his stable’s horses Sunday.
Exercise rider Olha Krushevska was aboard Moraz for her exercise. The Ukrainian-born horsewoman, who has been in the United States for eight years, reported that the filly went well in her move. “She was very professional,” she said.
Moraz drew post eight in the Oaks.
“It should be just fine,” McCarthy said. “There is plenty of tactical speed and she’s easy to ride. I’m happy with our spot.”
McCarthy indicated that the filly would gallop the rest of the week up to her Friday testing in the nine-furlong Oaks.
PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – Trainer George Weaver was en route to Churchill Downs Monday to catch up with his filly Pass the Champagne, who arrived around 7 a.m. from South Florida. Several hours later she drew post position five for Friday’s race.
‘‘I’m happy with it,” Weaver said. “I was hoping for a spot between four and seven.”
Pass the Champagne will gallop the next three mornings. Weaver said he hasn’t determined the exact time yet.
SEARCH RESULTS – Klaravich Stables’ Search Results picked up the pace a bit Monday morning, as she galloped 1 3/8 miles for trainer Chad Brown and “continues to thrive here.” The undefeated daughter of Flatterreturned to the track Sunday with a light jog around and will school in the paddock at some point this week.
WILL’S SECRET – Willis Horton’s Honeybee (GIII) winner Will’s Secret jogged at 7:30 a.m. for trainerDallas Stewart.
She’s scheduled to gallop at the same time Monday.
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.