Vertical Oak proved not for catching Friday with a convincing victory in the Miss Preakness. Breaking sharply, the chestnut was on the outside of a three-horse duel for command, matching strides with Our Majesty and longshot My Miss Chiff through swift early splits of :22.61 and :45.54. Our Majesty backed out of it at the top of the lane, leaving My Miss Chiff and Vertical Oak to battle it out. However, My Miss Chiff proved no match for Vertical Oak, who instantly powered clear to win by daylight. Our Majesty re-rallied to collar My Mis Chiff for second. It was the second graded stakes win of the day for trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Jose Ortiz, who teamed up to take the GIII Allaire DuPont Distaff earlier in the day with Terra Promessa (Curlin).
“She’s a nice filly,” Asmussen said. “She got away from the gate cleanly. That’s been key for her. Jose did a great job getting her away from the gate. I thought she ran very powerfully from there. I felt she was fast enough for this group off her last race. She had a rough trip the time before, so I was concerned about her confidence. This did exactly what I hoped it would”
Graduating by 6 3/4 lengths at second asking at Saratoga in August, Vertical Oak checked in second to stablemate and next out stakes winner Golden Mischief (Into Mischief) in a Churchill optional claimer in September and returned to winning ways with a first-level allowance score beneath the Twin Spires Nov. 26. Fourth in Oaklawn’s Dixie Belle S. Jan. 21, the chestnut filled that spot again in that venue’s Purple Martin S. Mar. 25. The $20,000 FTKOCT buy was in a race of her own last time in a sloppy renewal of Prarie Meadows’ Gold Finch S., breaking on top and making every pole a winning one en route to a 7 3/4-length victory.
The winner’s dam Vertical Vision was a two-time stakes winner during her juvenile campaign for Asmussen and Heiligbrodt Racing Stable. Winning breeder Millenium Farms purchased Vertical Vision in July of her 2011 3-year-old season for $77,000 as part of Fasig-Tipton’s Heiligbrodt Racing Stable dispersal. She remained with Asmussen and raced just once for those connections, finishing second in the Oklahoma Classics Distaff Sprint S., before retiring to their broodmare band. Vertical Oak is the second foal out of the now 10-year-old mare, who is also responsible for a juvenile colt by Paynter and a yearling colt by Animal Kingdom. Jody Huckabay purchased Vertical Vision, in foal to Elusive Quality, for $50,000 at last term’s Keeneland November sale and the resulting foal was a filly born Apr. 11.
Vertical Vision is the first graded stakes winner for dual Grade I winner Giant Oak, who passed away Mar. 1 at age 11 due to complications from a neurological condition. The 2010 GI Clark H. and 2011 GI Donn H. hero stood at Millenium Farms.
ADENA SPRINGS MISS PREAKNESS S.-GIII, $150,000, PIM, 5-19, 3yo, f, 6f, 1:10.06, ft.
1–@VERTICAL OAK, 116, f, 3, by Giant Oak
1st Dam: Vertical Vision (MSW, $202,979), by Pollard’s Vision
2nd Dam: Caney Creek, by Service Stripe
3rd Dam: Grace Creek, by Allen’s Prospect
($20,000 Ylg ’15 FTKOCT). O-J Kirk and Judy Robison; B-Millennium Farms (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Jose L. Ortiz. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 8-4-1-1, $249,200.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A.
2–Our Majesty, 116, f, 3, Majesticperfection–Undervalued, by Cox’s Ridge. ($162,000 Ylg ’15 FTKJUL; $150,000 2yo ’16 OBSOPN). O-It’s All About The Girls Stable; B-Brereton C. Jones (KY); T-Ron Moquett. $30,000.
3–My Miss Chiff, 116, f, 3, Into Mischief–Carl’s Frosty Girl, by Pulling Punches. ($60,000 Wlg ’14 OBSOCT; $110,000 Ylg ’15 FTKJUL). O-Town and Country Racing LLC; B-Steve Holliday (LA); T-Albert M Stall Jr. $15,000.Margins: 3 3/4, HF, NK. Odds: 6.80, 2.10, 11.40.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.
Also Ran: Too Much Tip, Astrollinthepark, R Angel Katelyn, Deer Valley, Crabcakes, Stormy Embrace, Nonna Bella, Who’s the Lady, Discreet Deceit, Bode’s Dream. Scratched: Shacklefords Lady, Pretty City Dancer.