CCA Oaks features familiar faces and foes

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Jen Caldwell

July 24th, 2015

Curalina, Include Betty and Keen Pauline are just three of those entered in Sunday’s $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga.

The nine-furlong race has come up pretty exciting as it also features I’m a Chatterbox and Wonder Gal among its eight-strong field.

The former trio are all exiting graded wins, while I’m a Chatterbox is making her first start since a third-place run in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 1 at Churchill Downs. The Larry Jones trainee was five wide in that contest but still made up ground for her placing.

I’m a Chatterbox entered the Kentucky Oaks having swept the three-year-old filly stakes at Fair Grounds over the winter in dominating fashion, including the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). She’s making her first trip to Saratoga for the CCA Oaks and keeps jockey Florent Geroux in the irons on Sunday.

Include Betty exited an eighth-placing in the Kentucky Oaks to be second in the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2) behind Keen Pauline just 14 days later. The chestnut miss got back to her winning ways last out in the Mother Goose S. (G1) at Belmont, taking command after a five-wide trip to draw off for a 3 1/4-length score.

Trainer Tom Proctor has been schooling Include Betty at Fair Hill in Maryland, away from the hustle and bustle of a track, and will give a leg up to the young but talented Drayden Van Dyke in this spot.

Keen Pauline and Curalina each captured their stakes bows in their prior races, with the former taking the May 15 Black-Eyed Susan and Curalina triumphing in the July 6 Acorn S. (G1).

While trainer Todd Pletcher shipped Curalina to the Spa a couple weeks later, letting her get familiar with the track, Dale Romans brought Keen Paulina back from Pimlico to his Churchill home base.

John Velazquez has been aboard for all three of Curalina’s wins and retains the mount in the CCA Oaks while Javier Castellano also stays in the saddle after guiding Keen Pauline in the Black-Eyed Susan.

Wonder Gal has been knocking on the door ever since taking her maiden debut last July at Belmont Park. The Leah Gyarmati pupil hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since while running against nothing but graded rivals, but has placed in all but one of those six starts, including the Mother Goose and Acorn in her past two.

This could be Wonder Gal’s chance to finally turn the tables and get her own stakes win. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call.

Of the remaining three runners in the CCA Oaks – Danette, Chide and Conquest Eclipse – Chide has a shot in the exotics after rallying to be third in the Mother Goose following a seven-wide run. Danette finally broke her maiden on July 2 in her 13th career start and Conquest Eclipse captured an allowance/optional claimer in her most recent effort at Churchill.

I'm a Chatterbox photo courtesy of Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography