"She has healed very nicely from her lacerations," said trainer J. Larry Jones. "We backed off on her training regiment and went light with her. What appeared to be bad luck has actually turned into good luck for us. She has progressed to the point where we feel comfortable entering her in this spot and there is a good chance we will run her."
She will be facing the Chevalier Stable's Weathered, who recently notched a 4 ½-length score in the mile and a sixteenth $175,000 Susan's Girl Stakes (including $25,000 Breeders' Cup fund) at Delaware Park on June 14. Previously, the daughter of Key Contender won a mile and seventy yard New York-bred allowance at Finger Lakes On May 25. The Karl Grusmark trainee sports a career record of six wins and a third from eight starts with earnings of $206,373.
"She came out of the Susan's Girl in super condition," said trainer Karl Grusmark. "She worked on Saturday (July 5) in spectacular fashion going a minute a change here at Suffolk. She was working in the five path on an off track and she galloped out in 1:13. So, she is showing every indication of being ready and going into the race in perfect condition."
Having a victory over the surface gives Grusmark added confidence in his filly.
"It gives you a little more confidence, that is for sure," said Grusmark. "She handled the heat, the trip and the surface in excellent fashion. So that gives us confidence."
J. Mack Robinson's African Violet will be looking for a different pace scenario in the Oaks. In her last effort, African Violet finished second beaten 4 ½-lengths against Weathered in the Susan's Girl Stakes. Previously, the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid notched a 2 ¾-length score in the mile and a sixteenth $55,000 Polly's Jet at Delaware Park on May 12. The Kentucky-bred sports a career record of three wins and second from six starts with earnings of $120,452.
Her trainer, H. Graham Motion has enjoyed success with the Delaware Handicap Festival of Racing.
"This weekend is something that we point for every year," said trainer H. Graham Motion. "We have African Violet in the Delaware Oaks. We won the Oaks with Sincerely (2000). I wish we had a filly for the Del 'Cap, but we did win that race with Power Play (1997) and came very close when Your Out missed by a nose against Summer Colony (2002). I am very glad to have the wins and memories I have from this weekend and hopefully we will have some more."
Motion won the Delaware Oaks with the Sincerely in 2000 and the Delaware Handicap with Power Play in 1997. He has won the Robert G. Memorial five times and the R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial once.
Motion is hoping for a different pace scenario in the Oaks.
"She is doing very well," said trainer H. Graham Motion. "I thought she was a little unlucky last time. I think Ramon (Dominguez) probably kicked himself a little bit for not letting her go on early. But hindsight is 20/20."