TDN Oaks Top 10 for April 16

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Venetian Harbor Benoit

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It’s been more than a month since the last TDN Kentucky Oaks Top 10 appeared, and how things have changed in such a short period of time. The GI Kentucky Oaks will not be run May 1 but, hopefully, Sept. 4. The road to the Oaks is filled with uncertainty as, with so many racetracks closed, there is no clear path to the race. The only traditional prep for the Oaks that is left on the schedule is the May 1 GIII Fantasy S. at Oaklawn, a race that is going to be loaded with 3-year-old filly stars who have no place else to run. Trainers who were gearing their horse to peak in early May must now figure out how to keep them going and be ready for a top effort in early September. Two traditional preps were run, the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks and the GII Fair Grounds Oaks, and each was won by a longshot as longstanding members of this Top 10 took a step backward. Noting that this is subject to change drastically before the Oaks is actually run, here is our current Top 10:

 

1) VENETIAN HARBOR (MunningsSounds of the City, by Street Cry {Ire})

O-Ciaglia Racing LLC, Highland Yard LLC, River Oak Farm & Dominic Savides. B-Colts Neck Stables LLC (KY). T-Richard Baltas. Sales History: $110,000 yrl ’18 KEESEP; $205,000 RNA 2yo ’19 OBSAPR. Lifetime Record: GSW, 3-2-1-0, $163,400.

Last Start: 1st GII Las Virgenes S., SA, Feb. 8

Next Start: GIII Fantasy S. OP, May 1

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 10.

Trainer Richard Baltas had hoped to run his fleet filly in either the GI Ashland S. or the GII Santa Anita Oaks, two races that were not held due to coronavirus shutdowns. Now, she hasn’t had a race since romping to a 9 3/4-length win in the Feb. 8 Las Virgenes S. at Santa Anita, but Baltas has said that she will go in the Fantasy. Because it has no competition, it’s a race that should attract a stellar field and will be a good test for the lightly raced filly. A win would make her the clear leader of the division, albeit with four months to go before the Oaks. Where can Baltas race her after the Fantasy? It’s anyone’s guess. In the most recent version of the Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, she was 4-1, second favorite behind only the mutuel field.

 

2) DONNA VELOCE (Uncle MoCoin Broker {Ire}, by Montjeu {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: GSW & MGISP, 4-2-2-0, $490,000.

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

Accomplishments Include: 2nd GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, 2nd GI Starlet S.

Next Start: To Be Determined

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 62.

Trainer Simon Callaghan was pointing his filly for the Santa Anita Oaks, but she’s now in a holding pattern after her win in the March 8 GIII Santa Ysabel S. An $800,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Old Sale, she’s a classy filly who was second in a pair of Grade I events at two, the GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the GI Starlet S. Like many trainers, Callaghan is trying to figure out a workable route to the Oaks and says, for now, he is backing off on Donna Veloce and has no set plans so far as her racing schedule goes.

 

3) BRITISH IDIOM (f, Flashback–Rose and Shine, by Mr. Sekiguchi)

O-Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group, LLC (Stuart Grant), Madaket Stables LLC & Bethlehem Stables LLC. B-Hargus & Sandra Sexton & Silver Fern Farm LLC (KY). T-Brad Cox. Sales History: $40,000 yrl ’18 FTKOCT. Lifetime Record: Ch. 2yo Filly & MGISW, 4-3-1-0, $1,441,250.

Last Start: 2nd GII Rachel Alexandra S., FG, Feb. 15

Accomplishments Include: 1st GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies; 1st GI Darley Alcibiades S.

Next Start: GIII Fantasy S, OP, May 1

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50.

Trainer Brad Cox is planning on running British Idiom in the Fantasy, which may be a make-or-break race for his Eclipse Award winning filly. She’s run only once this year, finishing second in the GII Rachel Alexandra S. at the Fair Grounds. Though it wasn’t a bad effort and Cox said she needed the race off a layoff, she was well beaten and showed some signs that she might not have improved from her 2-year-old year. It looks like the Fantasy will bring together a number of top 3-year-old fillies. With a win, British Idiom will jump right back to the top of the division. Previously based at the Fair Grounds, British Idiom is training at Oaklawn, where she has had three four-furlong works.

 

4) GAMINE (Into Mischief–Peggy 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: 1-1-0-0, $33,000.

Last Start: 1st Maiden Special Weight, SA, Mar. 7

Next Start: To Be Determined

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 0.

Even though she had raced only one time and did not debut until Mar. 7, Gamine was considered a top threat for the Oaks before the race was rescheduled. That’s how good she looked in a 6 1/4-length maiden win. Add in the facts that she is trained by Bob Baffert and cost $1.8 million at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Midatlantic 2-Year-Old Sale and it’s easy to see why so many were so excited about her. Now, with the Oaks set to be run in September, she looks even better. As long as he can find races for her to run in, Baffert can take his time and let Gamine develop rather than rushing her into the Oaks. She could be peaking in September. Potential superstar.

 

5) FINITE (MunningsRemit, by Tapit)

O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson & Deborah Easter. B-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC (KY). T-Steven Asmussen. Sales History: $200,000 2yo ’19 FTMMAY. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 7-5-2-0, $638,349.

Last Start: 4th GII Fair Grounds Oaks, FG, Mar. 21

Accomplishments Include: 1st GII Rachel Alexandra S.; 1st GII Golden Rod S.; 1st Silverbulletday S.; 1st Rags to Riches S.

Next Start: To Be Determined

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 80.

Hard to know what to do with a filly who had been on top of this list since its inception. She had won five straight, including a dominant win over champion British Idiom in the Rachel Alexandra. Then she was flat when facing what looked like, on paper, a weak group of opponents in the GII Far Grounds Oaks. Sent off at 3-10, she tired in the stretch to finish fourth. She has not had a workout since, so it looks like trainer Steve Asmussen has backed off on her. While, after one poor effort, it’s too early to give up on her, she’s going to need to post a strong race in her comeback to prove she’s worthy of handling a challenge like the Kentucky Oaks.

 

6) BONNY SOUTH (MunningsTouch the Star, by Tapit)

O/B-Juddmonte Farms (Ky). T-Brad Cox. Lifetime Record: GSW, 4-3-0-0, $323,350.

Last Start: 1st GII Fair Grounds Oaks, FG, Mar. 21

Next Start: To Be Determined

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 100.

At one point, Bonny South was no better than the third or fourth best 3-year-old filly in the Cox barn. But the Cox fillies just keep on winning. After an allowance win at Oaklawn, she upset Finite to win the Fair Grounds Oaks by 2 1/4 lengths. It was only her fourth career start and she appears to be improving with each outing. She is owned by Juddmonte Farms, which owned Taraz (Into Mischief), a highly regarded filly who broke down earlier this year when training and had to be euthanized. With so many good fillies and so few places to run them, Cox won’t have an easy time plotting out a route to the Oaks for any of his horses.

 

7) HARVEY’S LIL GOIL (American Pharoah–Gloria S, by Tapit)

O-Estate of Harvey A. Clarke & Paul Braverman. B-Harvey A. Clarke (KY). T-Bill Mott. Lifetime Record: SW, 3-2-0-0, $96,600.

Last Start: 1st Busanda S., AQU, Feb. 2

Next Start: GIII Fantasy S., OP, May 1

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 10.

A filly with a lot of promise, but she remains a mystery. She’s run only three times and all of them at Aqueduct and has not raced since winning the Feb. 2 Busanda S. Trainer Bill Mott had been planning on running her in the GII Gazelle S., but that race was scrapped as the NYRA tracks shut down due to the coronavirus. Plan B is the Fantasy. Co-owner Paul Braverman said there is a “high probability” she will run in the Oaklawn race. As with others who are aiming for that spot, the Fantasy will be a huge test for “Harvey.”

 

8) 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: GSW, 5-2-1-1, $197,980.

Last Start: 1st GII Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks, GP, Mar. 28.

Next Start: To Be Determined

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 110.

A newcomer to the Top 10, she made her way onto the list with an upset win in the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks. Just a $35,000 yearling purchase (at Keeneland September), she didn’t appear to belong in the top echelon of the division entering the Gulfstream race. She had been fifth in the Gasparilla S. at Tampa Bay Downs and then a well-beaten third in the Rachel Alexandra. A filly who had been having problems getting out of the gate, she showed a new dimension last out, wiring the field in the mile-and-a-sixteenth race. In the process she beat a couple of well-regarded fillies in Tonalist’s Shape (Tonalist) and Spice Is Nice (Curlin).

 

9) 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: GSW, 6-2-2-1, $297,648.

Last Start: 1st GIII Honeybee S., OP, Mar. 7

Next Start: GIII Fantasy S., OP, May 1

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 50.

Still another from the Brad Cox barn. Probably didn’t beat much when winning her first stakes race, the Honeybee at Oaklawn. But anything and everything that comes out of the Cox stable must be respected.  She seems to be on the improve and may very well continue to climb in the rankings. Along with Swiss Skydiver, Shedaresthedevil  is one of two horses in this top 10 who is by Daredevil, who now stands in Turkey after beginning his stallion career at WinStar.

 

10) AIN’T NO ELMERS (Goldencents–Voussoir, by Arch)

‘TDN Rising Star’ O-John & Iveta Kerber and Jon Lapczenski. B-John Kerber (Ky). T-W B Calhoun. Sales History: $37,000 RNA yrl ’18 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 2-2-0-0, $57,600.

Last Start: 1st Alw/Opt Clm, FG, Mar. 18

Next Start: GIII Fantasy S., OP, May 1

Equineline PPs. KY Oaks Points: 0.

Lightly raced filly shows up on the list not so much for what she has done but what she could accomplish. She broke her maiden in her debut, winning by 6 1/2 lengths and then came back in a Mar. 18 allowance at the Fair Grounds to win by nine lengths. Both races were at six furlongs, so she’s not only an unknown against stakes company but in route races. Like Gamine, she may have had a hard time getting ready for a May 1 Oaks because of her lack of experience. She has a lot of questions to answer and will get a chance to do so in the Fantasy.

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