Pharoah Half Gets Two-Turn Test in Starlet

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Chasing Yesterday | Benoit

Unveiled to much fanfare July 28 at Del Mar, Summer Wind Equine’s half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile) Chasing Yesterday (Tapit) did not disappoint, cruising to an easy 4 1/4-length graduation and ‘TDN Rising Star’ honors. A pair of stakes wins later, she takes a major step on the GI Kentucky Oaks trail with her first try around two turns in Saturday’s GI Starlet S. at Los Alamitos.

Disappointing when seventh as the favorite in the GI Spinaway S. Sept. 1 at Saratoga, the Bob Baffert-trained chestnut bounced back with a game tally in the Anoakia S. Oct. 14 at Santa Anita. She followed up with a hard-fought victory in the Desi Arnaz S. Nov. 12 in San Diego, but her final furlong time of :14.40 leaves some questions about how far the homebred wants to go.

Baffert, as he does in the Los Alamitos Futurity, will have a second stakes-winning ‘Rising Star’ as backup, in Mother Mother (Pioneerof the Nile). Romping by 6 1/2 lengths on debut July 22 at Del Mar, the dark bay was second in the GI Del Mar Debutante next out before pickup up her first black-type success with a 1 3/4-length conquest of the Rags to Riches S. Oct. 28 at Churchill.

Vibrance (Violence) looks to build on an encouraging longshot performance in the GI Tito’s Handmade Vodka Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. A second-out graduate Aug. 29 at Del Mar, the $155,000 Keeneland September buy was a no-match runner-up to Bellafina (Quality Road) in the GI Chandelier S. Sept. 29 at Santa Anita, but beat that rival and six others home when filling out the trifecta at 35-1 under the Twin Spires. With the inside draw and tactical speed, the bay figures to work out an advantageous trip under Flavien Prat.

Calumet Farm’s Oxy Lady (Oxbow) will try to prove her last race was no fluke as she ships in from trainer Jack Sisterson’s Keeneland base. Breaking her maiden at Belterra with just a 54 Beyer, the homebred stepped forward to be third at 20-1 in a Lexington allowance Oct. 10 and took another huge leap to upset the GIII Tempted S. by five lengths at 36-1 Nov. 2 at Aqueduct. The 94 figure she earned for that effort is easily tops in this group, but the second, third and fourth finishers have all regressed off their respective numbers in subsequent efforts.

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