Queen Goddess Gate To Wire In American Oaks

Queen Goddess | Benoit

Queen Goddess was trying dirt for the first time, but looked right at home with an easy wire-to-wire victory in the GII American Oaks–which was automatically downgraded after it came off the turf Sunday at Santa Anita. Kicked straight into the lead by Juan Hernandez, Queen Goddess assumed command after the opening furlong and cut out the running while racing a bit off the inside turning down the backstretch. Moving comfortably through a half in :47.62, the dark bay filly lobbed them along comfortably as she began to work clear into the final three-eighths of a mile. Stablemate Nicest tried to make a race of it in upper stretch, but Queen Goddess just kept on finding to lead home a one-two finish for trainer Michael McCarthy.

“She showed me a lot today,” Hernandez said. “She broke really sharp. She came to run today because out of the gate, I felt that she was trying to run to get the lead and she got comfortable there and [the other horses] let me go. She held on to the lead pretty good. Around the quarter pole when she felt the other filly–I actually felt her too, and in listening to the crowd, I could tell the other filly was coming–so we started working really hard and she just kept going, she never stopped. She's a really nice filly.”

Of his one-two finish, McCarthy said, “I was extremely disappointed when I heard the race was coming off the turf. All four owners decided to give it a shot on the dirt and I can't thank them enough. We'll see what's next for both these horses.”

Queen Goddess graduated over the Del Mar lawn in August and added an optional claimer at the seaside oval Sept. 4. She was well beaten while trying graded company for the first time when fifth over a yielding Keeneland course in the Oct. 16 GI Queen Elizabeth II Cup. She was most recently third in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer at Del Mar Nov. 25.

Pedigree Notes:

Yeguada Centurion purchased Royal Story, in foal to Mendelssohn, for $125,000 at the 2019 Keeneland November sale. Her Mendelssohn filly sold for €235,000 at this year's Arqana August sale. The winner's third dam, Just Reward (Deputy Minister), a daughter of Heavenly Prize (Seeking the Gold), produced Grade I winner Persistently (Smoke Glacken), as well as the dam of graded winner Stays in Vegas (City Zip).

Queen Goddess is the 38th graded winner for her late sire, Empire Maker, whose 2021 graded winners include GIII Bob Hope S. winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Messier, GIII Los Alamitos Derby winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Classier and G3 UAE Oaks winner Mnasek.

Sunday, Santa Anita
AMERICAN OAKS-GII*, $302,500, Santa Anita, 12-26, 3yo, f, 1 1/4m (off turf), 2:04.72, ft.
1–QUEEN GODDESS, 124, f, 3, by Empire Maker
1st Dam: Royal Story (SP), by Lemon Drop Kid
2nd Dam: Bauble, by Tale of the Cat
3rd Dam: Just Reward, by Deputy Minister
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. ($285,000 RNA Ylg '19 FTSAUG). O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Tolo Thoroughbreds Inc; B-Tolo Thoroughbreds (KY); T-Michael W McCarthy; J-Juan J Hernandez. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 6-3-1-1, $303,080. Werk Nick Rating: C. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Nicest (Ire), 124, f, 3, American Pharoah–Chicquita (Ire), by Montjeu (Ire). O-Katsumi Yoshida; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Michael W McCarthy. $60,000.
3–Fluffy Socks, 124, f, 3, Slumber (GB)–Breakfast Time, by Kitten's Joy. O/B-Head of Plains Partners LLC (KY); T-Chad C Brown. $36,000.
Margins: 2 3/4, 3 1/4, 3. Odds: 14.60, 7.10, 6.60.
Also Ran: Ivy League, Single Soul (GB), Going Global (Ire), Closing Remarks, Charges Dropped, Burgoo Alley (Ire), Core Values. Scratched: Eddie's New Dream. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
*Automatically downgraded when race moved from the turf.

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