On an afternoon when upsets ruled the day at Keeneland, Sailor’s Valentine came from out of nowhere to blow up the tote and stamp her ticket to the GI Kentucky Oaks.
A sharp debut graduate here over a pair of next-out winners–including GIII Bourbonette Oaks upsetter Purely a Dream (Pure Prize)–going seven panels in October, Sailor’s Valentine failed to really build on that promising effort in subsequent tries. Fourth as the favorite in Churchill’s one-mile Rags to Riches S. 22 days later, she settled for second when cut back to six furlongs for an optional claimer Nov. 26. A no-show fifth in Gulfstream’s Old Hat S. Jan. 7, she prepped for this with a runner-up effort going long on the Tampa turf Mar. 12.
“We knew she liked the track,” explained conditioner Eddie Kenneally. “She won here in October very impressively. She came back here in late March and had a really good work over the track. We just decided we’d take a shot in the Ashland–mainly because she loves this track–and this is a very, very good track.”
Away alertly and up to chase the pace in second down the backside, the grey seemed to be going well after a half in :49.32 set by fellow outsider Someday Soon. The pacesetter continued on past six panels in 1:14.06, and Sailor’s Valentine ratched up the pressure as they straightened. The pair of longshots appeared to brush in upper stretch, but Sailor’s Valentine righted the ship when it mattered and kicked clear before finding the line in advance of hard-charging Daddys Lil Darling.
“I hadn’t been on her [since the Old Hat],” noted winning rider Corey Lanerie. “Coming into the race, [Kenneally] said, ‘She’s doing phenomenal. I look for her to run a big race. She’s going maybe to be a longshot, but she’s not going to run like one.’ He was right.”
Favored Elate dropped back abruptly mid-race and was pulled up and vanned off.
Sailor’s Valentine is a great granddaughter of MGISW Coup de Fusil. Her dam has a 2-year-old filly named Two Sips (Eskendereya) and a yearling filly by City Zip. She was bred to Liam’s Map last spring.
CENTRAL BANK ASHLAND S.-GI, $500,000, KEE, 4-8, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:45.54, ft.
1–#@&SAILOR’S VALENTINE, 121, f, 3, by Mizzen Mast
1st Dam: Sortilege, by Tale of the Cat
2nd Dam: Competent Sort, by Cahill Road
3rd Dam: Coup de Fusil, by Codex
($100,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Semaphore Racing LLC &
Homewrecker Racing LLC; B-Curtis C. Green (KY); T-Eddie
Kenneally; J-Corey J. Lanerie. $300,000. Lifetime Record:
6-2-2-0, $359,214. Werk Nick Rating: A.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Daddys Lil Darling, 121, f, 3, Scat Daddy–Miss Hot Salsa, by
Houston. O/B-Normandy Farm (KY); T-Kenneth G. McPeek.
3–Someday Soon, 121, f, 3, Proud Citizen–Come Sunday, by
Repent. O/B-Tommy G Ligon (OH); T-William B. Van Meter.
$50,000.Margins: HF, 1 1/4, HF. Odds: 22.20, 5.70, 21.40.
Also Ran: Tapped, Summer Luck, Pretty City Dancer, Meanie Irenie, Elate.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.