Thrilled, Family Tree square off in Iowa Oaks

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

June 27th, 2016

Thrilled was two lengths best of Family Tree when the two three-year-old fillies first met in the $200,000 Plum Pretty at Sunland Park in March. Thursday night at Prairie Meadows, they and nine others will do battle in the $200,000 Iowa Oaks (G3).

Adding blinkers and coming off a second-place effort in the Demoiselle (G2), the Todd Pletcher-trained Thrilled was a narrow, even-money favorite to take the March 20 Plum Pretty over Family Tree, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Smart Strike sent away at 11-10. Collaring the long-time leading Family Tree in upper stretch, Thrilled drew off late to win decisively.

Thrilled has made just one start in the interim, finishing third as the even-money choice in the Selene (G3) at Woodbine in her first attempt on Polytrack. Family Tree, went on to comfortably score in an entry-level allowance on the Kentucky Oaks Day card at Churchill Downs, but was caught late by Ready to Confess in a second-level allowance over the same track last time.

In addition to the Pin Oak homebred Ready to Confess, who had previously run third in the Fantasy (G3), the Iowa Oaks lineup also features Marquee Miss, who captured the Dixie Belle and Martha Washington at Oaklawn over the winter, and Just Wicked, a daughter of Tapit unplaced four times since a victory in the Adirondack (G2) at Saratoga last summer.

Stepping up in class off recent successes are Alotta Skirt, a maiden and allowance winner in Kentucky this spring, and the Bob Baffert-trained Emmzy, who broke her maiden at Santa Anita June 10 in her first attempt around two turns.

Earlier in the card, Fioretti looks to snap a four-race losing skid in the $100,000 Saylorville, a six-furlong dash for fillies and mares. Fioretti earned her signature victory in the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) at Keeneland in October.

Other leading contenders are California invader Dr. Fager's Gal and She'sabrees, a dominating winner of the $45,000 Prairie Rose over the track and distance last month.

(Coady Photography)