Condo could swoop on Gazelle while Oaklawn offers up a Fantasy
There are four major Kentucky Oaks (G1) preps scheduled for Saturday spanning the entire country. Two are Grade 1s, which will be discussed in Friday’s blog, while the other two will be the subject of this blog. Each race offers points on a 100-40-20-10 basis toward a starting berth in the May 1 Oaks.
The $300,000 Gazelle S. (G2) begins the quartet of preps and is one of only four races on the entire prep schedule offered either at the Oaks distance of nine furlongs or farther. The other three are the Demoiselle S. (G2), U.A.E. Oaks and Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).
Condo Commando (Tiz Wonderful) captured the Demoiselle last November, dominating her six rivals by 11 1/2 lengths, and could duplicate that effort in the Gazelle on Saturday. The Rudy Rodriguez pupil found no trouble wiring her three-year-old bow, the Busher S., by 4 3/4 lengths on February 21 at Aqueduct, and only faces six again here.
The dark bay miss earned the highest BRIS Speed rating (102) of this field in the Demoiselle, and there is only one other filly in the group to earn a triple-digit BRIS Speed figure.
That one is Wonder Gal (Tiz Wonderful), who was awarded a 100 for finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in her most recent effort. Trained by Leah Gyarmati, the dark bay lass actually debuted a winner against stakes rivals last July at Belmont Park and placed in both the Frizette S. (G1) and Adirondack S. (G2) prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
It will be interesting to see if Wonder Gal can threaten Condo Commando, cause nobody else has in her past two.
One other with a shot to challenge the presumptive winner is Noble and a Beauty (Noble Causeway). The chestnut miss will be stretching out past 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time in this spot, but easily drew away to an eight-length score in the Cicada S. going three-quarters in her most recent race. She earned a 94 BRIS Speed figure for that effort, her best to date.
As for the rest of the Gazelle field, Puca (Big Brown) might offer some improvement in her second start of the year following a well-beaten fourth in the Davona Dale S. (G2) but Money’soncharlotte (Mizzen Mast) and Jacaranda (Congrats) were beaten double-digit lengths in that contest and are up against it here. Sweet Corine (Pulpit) will be facing winners for the first time since breaking her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths on January 18, but one race prior in her initial start the bay lass was well-behind Noble and a Beauty.
The Gazelle is scheduled to be run at approximately 4:20 p.m. (EDT), and about an hour and a half later a field of 11 fillies will take to the Oaklawn Park track for the $400,000 Fantasy S. (G3) to wrap up the day’s Oaks action.
The 1 1/16-mile Fantasy features a nice rematch between the respective top four finishers of the Honeybee S. (G3) – Sarah Sis (Sharp Humor), Oceanwave (Harlan’s Holiday), Pangburn (Congrats) and Purr (Bluegrass Cat) – as well as some interesting new shooters.
Sarah Sis had no trouble subduing her rivals in the Honeybee, and I don’t see much changing in this spot. The Ingrid Mason-trained filly doesn’t own the best BRIS Speed numbers out there, but then again neither does anyone else in this group.
In fact, the only filly in the field to crack 100 is Feathered (Indian Charlie). She did so twice, once when a length back in fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and again one race later with a close half-length second in the Starlet S. (G1). Both of those losses came to champion Take Charge Brandi (Giant’s Causeway), who is currently sidelined, and Feathered probably needed her last one, a fourth-placing against allowance/optional claiming rivals, off the near three-month break.
Another newcomer with a chance to upset Sarah Sis is Lady Tapit (Tapit). That John Sadler pupil didn’t offer much in her first outing while sprinting, but did much better when stretched out to a mile to break her maiden by 4 1/4 lengths.
Sweet Opportunity’s (Distorted Humor) numbers are about on par with everyone else in this field, and the chestnut lass is currently 3-1-1-1 over the track. She could get up for a share while making her graded bow in this spot.
Achiever’s Legacy (City Zip) has never competed at Oaklawn before, but has been facing some tough rivals on the West Coast. The stakes winner exits a fourth-placing in the Santa Ysabel S. (G3) in late February.
Stakes debuter Harlans Belle (Harlan’s Holiday), second behind Sweet Opportunity three weeks ago; Super Saks (Sky Mesa), eighth in the Honeybee; and stakes scorer Include Betty (Include), fifth in the Florida Oaks (G3) last out, complete the Fantasy field.
Photo: Sarah Sis (Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)