Kentucky Oaks Top 10 for Sept. 2

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GamineSarah Andrew

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Four months after its initial date, the GI Kentucky Oaks is finally upon us and the race promises to be one of the best renditions ever of what has become the most important 3-year-old filly race on the calendar. This may be a two-horse race, but it is a two-horse race between two fillies, Swiss Skydiver (Daredevil) and Gamine (Into Mischief), who appear to be among the best of their generation. Superiority will be settled on the racetrack

With Swiss Skydiver and Gamine dominating the competition throughout the late spring and summer, cases of Oaks Fever were in short supply this year. Only nine entered the race, making this the smallest Oaks field since 2009 when Rachel Alexandra topped a field of seven.

 

1) GAMINE (Into MischiefPeggy Jane, by Kafwain)

‘TDN Rising Star’ O-Michael L. Petersen. B-Grace Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY). T-Bob Baffert. Sales History: $220,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP; $1,800,000 2yo ’19 FTMMAY. Lifetime Record: MGISW, 4-3-0-0, $363,600.

Last Start: GI Longines Test S., SAR, Aug. 8

Accomplishments: 1st GI Longines Acorn S., BEL, June 20

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50.

Installed as the even-money morning line favorite, Gamine drew post five. The game plan is obvious. She has a tremendous asset in her natural speed and will likely open up early and dare them to catch her. That may mean a quick pace, but Gamine seems capable of running fast early and having enough left late. She posted fractions of :22 3/5 and :45 in the GI Acorn and then drew off to win by 18 3/4 lengths. That, of course was at a mile and the Oaks is a mile-and-an-eighth, so she does have one important question to answer.

On the Beyer scale, she is clearly faster that Swiss Skydiver. She ran a 110 in the Acorn and a 108 in the GI Test. Swiss Skydiver’s best number is a 102.

Just six months into her career, Gamine has come a long way in a short period of time and had the Oaks been run May 1 there’s no way she would have been ready for the race. She made her second career start May 2 at Oaklawn in what normally would have been the day after the Oaks.

In the sorry-for-getting-way ahead-of-ourselves department: suppose Gamine wins the Oaks and Tiz the Law (Constitution) wins the GI Kentucky Derby. Could we possibly see a showdown for the ages between the two in the GI Preakness S? It’s worth noting that Gamine’s owner Michael Lund Petersen is from Baltimore.

 

2) SWISS SKYDIVER (Daredevil–Expo Gold, by Johannesburg)

O-Peter J Callahan. B-WinStar Farm (KY). T-Kenneth G McPeek. Sales History: $35,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 9-5-2-1, $952,980.

Last Start: 1st GI Alabama S., SAR, Aug. 15

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 450.

It’s hard to imagine that a filly who is coming off a Grade I win, ran second against males in the GII Toyota Blue Grass S. and has four stakes wins this year could be second choice (8-5) in the morning line. That just tells you how highly regarded Gamine is.

It will be interesting to see what tactics jockey Tyler Gaffalione and trainer Kenny McPeek employ. Breaking from the one post, Swiss Skydiver is almost certain to be second in the early going behind Gamine. Will Gaffalione let Gamine get away from him or will he go after Gamine and try to take the fight to her early?

While Gamine remains an unknown at the distance, Swiss Skydiver will not have any problems at a mile-and-an-eighth. She didn’t blossom until McPeek was able to get her around two turns and has the very rare distinction of coming into the nine-furlong Oaks off a win at 10-furlongs, in the GI Alabama S.

She, too, could surface in the Preakness. McPeek has already tried her against boys once and is perhaps the most daring big-name trainer in the sport today.

 

3) SPEECH (Mr SpeakerScribbling Sarah, by Freud)

O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. B-Gail Rice (FL).

T-Michael W. McCarthy. Sales history: $65,000 ylg ’18 OBSWIN; $95,000 RNA ylg ’18 FTKJUL; $190,000 2yo ’19 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: GISW, 7-2-4-1, $353,840.

Last Start: 1st GI Ashland S., KEE, July 11

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 160.

How the race unfolds may also dictate how this filly fares and whether or not she will have any chance to unseat Gamine and Swiss Skydiver. Speech drew post four and trainer Michael McCarthy sees her sitting just off of Gamine and Swiss Skydiver. If those two hook up in a duel Speech could get a perfect trip.

“It kind of makes things pretty clear for us,” McCarthy said after the draw. “We’ve got speed outside of us and speed down inside. I think [Gamine and Swiss Skydiver] will probably keep each other company. Hopefully we can tuck in right behind them and have a nice trip.”

But will that be enough? Speech won the GI Ashland S. in her previous start, but before that she kept finishing behind fillies she will meet in this race. She was second behind Swiss Skydiver in the GII Santa Anita Oaks, second behind Gamine in an allowance at Oaklawn (she was subsequently placed first when Gamine tested positive for a prohibited substance) and second behind Donna Veloce in the GIII Santa Ysabel S.

A very good filly who was probably born in the wrong year.

 

4) DONNA VELOCE (Uncle MoCoin Broker {Ire}, by Montjeu http://www.fasigtipton.com/{Ire}) TDN Rising Star O-Kaleem Shah, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith. B-Coin Broker Syndicate (KY). T-Simon Callaghan. Sales History: $450,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP; $800,000 2yo ’19 FTFMAR. Lifetime Record: MGISP, 4-2-2-0, $490,000.

Last Start: 1st GIII Santa Ysabel S., SA, Mar. 8.

Next Start: Possible for GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4 OR GII Eight Belles S., CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 62.

Just a few weeks ago it didn’t appear that Donna Veloce had any chance of making the Kentucky Oaks. She was working for trainer Simon Callaghan, but hadn’t raced since winning the March 8 Santa Ysabel and had fallen off the radar. But after a work last Friday at Del Mar Callaghan signaled his intention to start the filly in the Oaks. The other option was the GII Eight Belles S. at seven furlongs.

She was good enough to easily defeat Speech in the Santa Ysabel after stumbling at the start, but it’s hard to imagine her winning such a tough race after such a long layoff.

Ricardo Santana, Jr. replaces Flavien Prat, who elected to stay at Del Mar for the weekend.

 

5) SHEDARESTHEDEVIL (Daredevil–Starship Warpspeed, by Congrats)

O-Flurry Racing Stables LLC, Qatar Racing Limited & Big Aut Farms. B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY). T-Brad Cox. Sales History: $100,000 wlg ’17 KEENOV; $20,000 RNA yrl ’18 KEESEP; $280,000 2yo ’19 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 9-4-2-2, $501,768.

Last Start: 1st GIII Indiana Oaks, IND, July 8

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 90.

Though she’s won her last two starts, the race that really tells you where Shedaresthedevil stacks up is the GIII Fantasy S. run May 1 at Oaklawn. She appeared to run her race that day but was third–beaten 13 1/4 lengths–by Swiss Skydiver. She came back to win an allowance at Churchill and the GIII Indiana Oaks, but couldn’t get out of the eighties when it comes to Beyer numbers. The Oaks is loaded this year and it’s very hard to see Shedaresthedevil or any of the long shots posting what would be a monumental upset.

 

6) HOPEFUL GROWTH (TapitureMaiden America, by Rock Hard Ten)

O-St Elias Stable. B-Phillips Racing Partnership (KY). T-Anthony Margotta Jr. Sales History: $160,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: GSW, 5-3-1-0, $183,240.

Last Start: 1st GIII Monmouth Oaks, MTH, Aug. 1

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD , Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50.

Like many in this race, it would be a noteworthy accomplishment if she could finish third or fourth. It’s hard to imagine anything better than that. She seemed to be a cut below even Grade III company until her last stat when she scored an upset at 11-1 in the GIII Monmouth Oaks. Trainer Anthony Margotta, Jr. went with the blinkers that day, so that may be what woke her up. Appears to be getting better but would take a monumental improvement for her to win the Oaks.

 

7) DREAM MARIE (Graydar–Lin Marie, by Curlin

O-Miracles International Trading; B-Wynnstay LLC & GWR LLC (KY); T-Matthew Williams. Sales History: $10,000 yrl ’18 FTKOCT; $25,000 2yo ’19 OBSMAR. Lifetime Record: GSP, 11-3-2-1, $160,160.

Last Start: 4th GIII Monmouth Oaks, MTH, Aug. 1

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 35

Part of the bottom three in the field, all of whom are 50-1 in the morning line, and will be hard pressed to finish among the top four. Showed a little life when second in the GIII Delaware Oaks, but followed that up with a dull showing when fourth in the Monmouth Oaks. Should she somehow win it would make for quite a human interest story. Trainer Matthew Williams is a native of Jamaica who is just 24. He has a five-horse stable and all of his horses are owned by his family’s Miracles International Trading Inc.

 

8 ) TEMPERS RISING (BayernMarchmont, by Mountain Cat)

O-Mark H & Nancy W Stanley; B-Dr Bryan Boone DVM (KY); T-Dallas Stewart. Sales History: $50,000 Wlg ’17 KEENOV; $70,000 Ylg ’18 KEESEP; $145,000 RNA 2yo ’19 OBSMAR; $170,000 RNA 2yo ’19 FTMMAY; $150,000 RNA HIT ’20 KEEHRA. Lifetime Record: 10-1-5-2, $222,627.

Last Start: 2nd Alw/Opt. Clm., ELP, July 31

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 47

Trainer Dallas Stewart is best known for his ability to get seemingly hopeless long shots to win or run well in huge spots, but even he appears to be overmatched this time. The daughter of Bayern was at her best when second in the GII Fair Grounds Oaks in March, but seems to have gone in the wrong direction since then. She was beaten 10 lengths in May in an allowance at Churchill and then failed to win as the favorite in a July 31 allowance at Ellis Park.

 

9) BAYERNESS (BayernWeight No More, by Pure Prize)

O-Belladonna Racing, LLC; B-Machmer Hall (KY); T-Cherie DeVeaux. Sales History: $170,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP; $350,000 2yo ’19 EASMAY. Lifetime Record: 5-2-0-2, $131,200.

Last Start: 3rd GIII Indiana Oaks, IND, July 8

Next Start: GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, CD, Sept. 4

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 8.

She is actually the only horse in the race ever to beat Swiss Skydiver, which she accomplished in an allowance last November at Churchill Downs. But Swiss Skydiver has improved dramatically since while this filly is still looking for her next win.  Has struggled this year, finishing a distant seventh in the GII Davona Dale S. and a distant third on both the GIII Dogwood S. and the GIII Indiana Oaks. Is trained by former Chad Brown assistant Cherie DeVaux.

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