By Christina Bossinakis
Favored to earn her first taste of Classic glory in the GI Kentucky Oaks in May, Godolphin's Wet Paint (Blame) could only manage a fourth-place finish behind stablemate Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief). Fast forward through a runner-up effort in Ellis's Monomoy Girl S. last month followed by a trek to upstate New York, the bay finally bagged her own Grade I, taking Saturday's Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
“She's a super consistent filly who always comes running,” said trainer Brad Cox, who won the 2018 renewal of the Oaks with subsequent champion Monomoy Girl. “Her run in the [Kentucky] Oaks was good and her last race at Ellis was probably better than it looked on paper running against a huge bias with no pace. I'm glad she stepped up and finally got that Grade I–that was big for her.”
GSW Southlawn (Pioneerof the Nile) stumbled dramatically leaving the innermost stall, spotting the field several lengths while 14-1 chance She's Lookin Lucky (Lookin At Lucky) and Sacred Wish (Not This Time) enjoyed cleaner starts and proceeded directly to the head of affairs. In the meantime, Wet Paint was unhurried in last, about four lengths off of She's Lookin Lucky, who registered a comfortable opening quarter in :24.67 as Sacred Wish and the awkward starting Southlawn pursued in second and third, respectively. Still content to linger out back through an equally modest half in :48.81, Wet Paint launched her bid heading to the quarter pole as Sacred Wish forged to the front and appeared to be en route to victory. Wet Paint, however, had other ideas. Fanned out several paths wide straightening for home, the 7-5 second choice slowly reeled in game leader in the final jumps and nailed her rival by a neck at the wire. Favored Gambling Girl was a long way back in third, finishing ahead of She's Lookin Lucky and Southlawn.
“She closes into soft paces like she did today, she closes into a fast pace,” said Cox. “This is her thing in regards to just kind of flopping out of the gate and finding her way and finishing up. I told Flavien [Prat] today, 'Just ride her like a turf horse.' He knows what to do and you don't have to tell him anything. That's really what it comes down to–just let her break and kind of find her way around there, and when she starts picking up, just keep her out of trouble.”
Added Prat, “Turning for home I thought I was going to win, at the eighth pole I was questioning it, and then she finally found another gear to get by that filly. We went slow and we really picked it up and the filly of George Weaver's kept on going, but she was able to get the win.”
Hoosier Philly (Into Mischief) was scratched the morning of the race after sustaining a minor foot issue, via a Tweet posted by trainer Tom Amoss Saturday morning.
“Hoosier Philly was not herself this morning with a minor foot issue. Out of an abundance of caution, agreement with the state vets, & doing the right thing by her, she will be withdrawn from the CCAO. We look forward to getting back to the track in the future.”
On the board in two of three starts last season, Wet Paint kicked off the season with a win in Oaklawn's Martha Washington S. before adding wins in a sloppy renewal of the GIII Honeybee S. and GIII Fantasy S. ahead of her Classic bid.
Cox said Wet Paint will likely target the 10-furlong GI Alabama S. Aug. 19 at the Spa.
“That's the logical spot moving forward,” Cox said. “We'll talk it over with the Godolphin team, but I think a mile and a quarter is definitely something she's going to be able to handle based off her running style and showing today that she likes Saratoga.”
Wet Paint is one of 21 graded winners and 45 black-type winners for Claiborne's Blame, who also has six winners at the highest level. Three of those six Grade I winners are out of Mr. Prospector-line broodmare sires, making them inbred to that prolific Claiborne stalwart. Wet Paint herself is 4×4 to Mr. Prospector and her damsire, Darley's late Street Cry (Ire), is responsible for 140 stakes winners out of his daughters. The CCA Oaks winner is Blame's second Grade I winner at the Spa following Marley's Freedom, who won the 2018 Ballerina S.
A second-generation Godolphin homebred after Darley acquired the family from Stonerside, Wet Paint has a yearling half-sister by Medaglia d'Oro. Dam Sky Painter, who hails from the same family as 2020 GII Del Mar Derby winner Pixelate (City Zip) and whose third dam is four-time GISW Nastique (Naskra), most recently produced a filly by Not This Time Apr. 26.
COACHING CLUB AMERICAN OAKS-GI, $485,000, Saratoga, 7-22, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:50.68, ft.
1–WET PAINT, 121, f, 3, by Blame
1st Dam: Sky Painter (GSP, $169,755), by Street Cry (Ire)
2nd Dam: Skylighter, by Sky Mesa
3rd Dam: Painted Lady, by Broad Brush
1ST GRADE I WIN. O-Godolphin, LLC; B-Godolphin (KY);
T-Brad H. Cox; J-Flavien Prat. $275,000. Lifetime Record:
Werk Nick Rating: F. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross
pedigree. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style
2–Sacred Wish, 121, f, 3, by Not This Time
1st Dam: Indian Wish, by Indian Charlie
2nd Dam: Sister Girl, by Conquistador Cielo
3rd Dam: Scipio, by Danzig
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($80,000 Wlg '20 KEENOV; $70,000 RNA
Ylg '21 KEESEP; $50,000 2yo '22 EASMAY). O-Black Type
Thoroughbreds, Swinbank Stables, Adkisson, Steve, Dunn,
Christopher T. and Spinazzola, Anthony; B-John R. Penn (KY);
T-George Weaver. $100,000.
3–Gambling Girl, 121, f, 3, by Dialed In
1st Dam: Tulipmania, by Empire Maker
2nd Dam: Eventail, by Lear Fan
3rd Dam: Felicita, by Rubiano
($200,000 Ylg '21 SARAUG). O-Repole Stable; B-Gallagher's
Stud (NY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $60,000.
Margins: NK, 8HF, HF. Odds: 1.45, 10.80, 1.20.
Also Ran: She's Lookin Lucky, Southlawn. Scratched: Hoosier Philly.
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs.
— TDN (@theTDN) July 22, 2023