Already with its GII Rachel Alexandra S. Presented by Fasig-Tipton winner Clairiere (Curlin) among the short list of GI Kentucky Oaks contenders, and having bred and sold GI Central Bank Ashland S. heroine Malathaat (Curlin) to Shadwell, Barbara Banke's Stonestreet was represented by another serious contender for the run for the lillies with GIII Fantasy S. heroine Pauline's Pearl (Tapit) Saturday at Oaklawn.
Moved up to fourth after a very tough trip sprinting at Fair Grounds Dec. 19, the grey improved to be third going two turns there Jan. 15. She put it all together in the NOLA slop Feb. 12, and most recently finished a close second at nearly 19-1 in the track-and-trip Mar. 6 GIII Honeybee S. behind Will's Secret (Will Take Charge), who was third in the Ashland.
Installed as the 4-5 favorite facing five foes and a seemingly softer bunch than the one that lined up in Lexington, Pauline's Pearl broke alertly from her outside post but was hung four deep around the first turn before eventually working her way closer to the rail. Lightly raced and stretching out Ava's Grace (Laoban) showed the way through a :46.86 half, but Pauline's Pearl tugged her way closer behind six furlongs in 1:11.84 as Coach (Commissioner) also revved up out wide from farther back. Pauline's Pearl proved to have the deepest stamina reserves in the lane, and powered away late under a pumped-up Ricardo Santana, Jr.
Pauline's Pearl, who is also Triple Crown nominated, earned 100 Oaks points for the win, putting her in fourth in the standings with 120 total.
“With who she is and the confidence that race [Honeybee] gave us, I think Ricardo used more of her today, put her in a better position,” said Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. “He said how confident he was around there. He used a little of her away from there, just to not hand it to them; said down the backside she was traveling extremely comfortably and obviously we're very pleased with the results.
“She's all class. Has a tremendous pedigree. She's gotten better every day. She's gotten faster with each race. She's getting extremely good at the perfect time.”
Saturday, Oaklawn Park
FANTASY S.-GIII, $600,000, Oaklawn, 4-3, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:43.64, ft.
1–PAULINE'S PEARL, 117, f, 3, by Tapit
1st Dam: Hot Dixie Chick (GISW, $343,252),
by Dixie Union
2nd Dam: Above Perfection, by In Excess (Ire)
3rd Dam: Something Perfect, by Somethingfabulous
1ST BLACK-TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN.
O-Stonestreet Stables LLC; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred
Holdings LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Ricardo Santana,
Jr. $360,000. Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-1, $461,500. *1/2 to
Union Jackson (Curlin), MSW & GSP, $273,874. Werk Nick
Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ava's Grace, 117, f, 3, Laoban–Cover Girl Elle, by Out of
Place. O-Cypress Creek Equine; B-Southern Equine Stables, LLC
(KY); T-Robertino Diodoro. $120,000.
3–Coach, 121, f, 3, Commissioner–And Stay Out, by Exchange
Rate. ($65,000 Ylg '19 FTKOCT). O-Kueber Racing, LLC; B-Three
Lyons Racing LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox. $60,000.
Margins: 1, 3/4, 3HF. Odds: 0.80, 8.40, 3.30.
Also Ran: Take Charge Lorin, Sylvia Q, West Side Girl. Scratched: Sun Path. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
Pauline's Pearl becomes the 89th graded stakes winner for Tapit, sire of 2014 Kentucky Oaks heroine and fellow Asmussen trainee Untapable and 2011 Fantasy winner Joyful Victory. Dixie Union is the broodmare sire of 21 graded winners.
Brilliant and precocious Hot Dixie Chick was a $435,000 FTFFEB '09 juvenile who took that year's GI Spinaway S. She is the dam of two prior winners for the connections, including MSW/GSP 'TDN Rising Star' Union Jackson (Curlin), who stands in New York and has first 2-year-olds. A half-sister to 2017 GI Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming (Bodemeister), Hot Dixie Chick has a 2-year-old colt by Curlin and produced a Constitution colt Feb. 21.