Watching the activity were Dan Glick and Steve Gowers, two of the partners in Right Time Racing, who are considering a Kentucky Oaks (GI) run with Street Storm, who is also under consideration for the $100,000 Edgewood Presented by Kentucky National Insurance at 1 1/6 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Friday.
Street Storm has no graded stakes earnings and the Oaks is limited to 14 starters with the highest amount of graded earnings. Not counting Street Storm, 13 fillies were considered as probable for the races with two others possible, all with graded earnings.
“This partnership has three horses and one of them is a 2-year-old we just bought,” Glick said of the group that has eight partners, all Louisvillians or with Louisville ties. “It might be a once in a lifetime chance.”
“They’ve got two bullets,” trainer Steve Margolis said, “and both are doing good.”
DAISY DEVINE – James M. Miller’s Daisy Devine, winner of the richest Kentucky Oaks prep race in the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII), breezed three-eighths in :35.80, more than a full second faster than the four other three-furlong works of the morning.
With Larry Melancon breaking her off at the quarter-pole, Daisy Devine cruised down the stretch through an opening eighth of :12.20 and hit the finish line in :23.60. She galloped out a half-mile on the clubhouse turn in :49.20.
“Perfect,” trainer Andrew McKeever said. “I told Larry to let her do what she wants to do. I wanted a little decent work because she’s going to have to run hard and she looked good. She really quickened up at the eighth pole when he asked her to, so it was perfect. And she came back happy.”
Daisy Devine was outfitted in blinkers, as she has been for her past four starts, in which she is 4-3-1-0.
“We were just looking to keep her focused and try to keep her sweet and happy until she runs,” McKeever said.
A surface saturated with water from several days and nights of rain did not seem to affect the Kafwain filly, who has only raced on fast tracks but now has two bullet moves over Churchill slop.
“It doesn’t seem to matter to her,” McKeever said. “As long as it’s a dirt track she seems to like it, similar to the Fair Grounds, and we know she liked that.”
Daisy Devine, who will be ridden by James Graham in the Oaks, likely will make an appearance Wednesday during the Oaks-Derby training session.
“She trains herself and whatever she wants to do she can do,” McKeever said. “If she wants to go gallop, she can gallop; if she wants to jog, she can jog. Normally she prefers to get out there, even if it’s just to walk and stretch her legs.”
HER SMILE/R HEAT LIGHTNING – Both of the Todd Pletcher-trained fillies jogged a mile Monday morning shortly after 7 a.m.
While things initially appeared well with the pair, R Heat Lightning soon gave her stable cause for concern.
“We noticed back at the barn that she seemed to be just a little off in her right front,” Pletcher said Monday afternoon of the likely morning-line Oaks favorite. “We checked her and could feel some heat in her right knee. We consulted with her owner’s people and the decision was made to withdraw her from the race.
“Later this week we’ll take her over to Rood & Riddle Clinic (in Lexington, Ky.) and have her checked from top to bottom. Hopefully this won’t be anything big and she’ll be back by the end of the summer. But it’s a shame. A filly like this at the top of her game and with a chance to run in a race like this (Kentucky Oaks), that’s what you hope for. It’s too bad.”
Her Smile, a daughter of Include who is owned by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, had worked a half-mile in :50.40 Sunday under Garrett Gomez. The question of her participation in Friday’s Oaks is still up for discussion.
“I’m going to talk to Bobby (Flay) today and we’ll come to a decision,” Pletcher said. “I think Bobby wants to run; he seems to be leaning that way. And I’ve seen nothing from her (Her Smile) to say that we couldn’t.
“Of course, the Black-Eyed Susan (at Pimlico in Maryland) is two weeks later and one would think it would be an easier spot. So we’ll see.”
Should Her Smile run in the Kentucky Oaks, which appears to be assured of a maximum field of 14 with or without her, Gomez would have the call.
HOLY HEAVENS – Drs. K.K. & Vilasini Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens did not go to the track a day after she “two-minute licked” a mile.
“She kind of worked yesterday, so just relaxed today,” trainer Benard Chatters said. “Everything’s good. We’re just trying to get ready for this big dance.”
Instead of visiting the track, the Holy Bull filly walked the shedrow and enjoyed time in her stall draped with a Thermotex blanket.
“It promotes blood flow to the muscles,” Chatters said. “I want her to feel fresh and ready to go out there and do something. We’re just relaxing and getting ready to go out there and run down Joyful Victory.”
JOYFUL VICTORY – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory came out of her bullet work on Sunday nicely and had a quiet morning on Monday.
The Honeybee (GIII) and Fantasy (GII) winner turned in a five-furlong work in :59.20 over the wet track Sunday under jockey Gabriel Saez.
“Everything is good,” trainer Larry Jones said. “She cleaned up good last night. We’re happy with the way everything has turned out. Twenty-four hours after the work, we’re in great shape. We’re happy.”
KATHMANBLU – Following Saturday’s final Kentucky Oaks major workout, Kathmanblu returned to the racetrack this morning for trainer Ken McPeek and galloped a mile and a half.
“Nothing important, just some basic stuff,” McPeek said afterward. “She came back out of her work great and there’s nothing dramatic to report. She’s doing well and we’re looking forward to running her in the Oaks.”
Owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables, Kathmanblu will be reunited with jockey Julien Leparoux in the Oaks. Leparoux has ridden Kathmanblu to all four of her career stakes victories.
Stablemate Niji’s Grand Girl, who had been considered for the Oaks and the Edgewood Stakes on Friday’s card, will be pointed to the Edgewood, McPeek said.
LILACS AND LACE – James Covello and partners’ Lilacs and Lace returned to the race track at Churchill Downs Monday morning after walking the shedrow on Sunday. The Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) winner breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 on Saturday.
“The filly jogged seven-eighths of a mile and galloped seven-eighths of a mile,” said Reynaldo Abreu, assistant to trainer John Terranova. “She skipped over the track very nice, very nice. I’m pretty happy the way she’s handling everything.”
Exercise rider Eliel DeJesus was aboard the daughter of Flower Alley, who’ll be ridden by Javier Castellano in the Oaks.
PLUM PRETTY – Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty breezed a half-mile in :48.80 over a sloppy track in her final breeze before the running of the Oaks on Friday.
Working during the Oaks/Derby training period following the renovation break, the same time that stablemates Midnight Interlude and Mythical Power were on the track, she turned in fractions of :12.40, :24.80 and :36.80. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.60.
“I was really with the way they went today,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “She likes the slop. She loves that stuff.”
Plum Pretty worked over a wet surface on April 27, but Baffert said the conditions were better Monday.
“The track was in pretty good shape today. We got enough rain,” Baffert said. “The last time I worked these horses it didn’t rain enough and the track was sort of drying out heavy and mucky. I was really happy with the way they worked today because they went over it well.”
Martin Garcia will ride the filly in the Kentucky Oaks.
ST. JOHN’S RIVER – Dede McGehee’s St. John’s River galloped 1 ¾ miles with exercise rider Robert Wright aboard during the Oaks-Derby training session.
“When we were galloping through the stretch a Derby horse worked inside of her and another Derby horse galloped past outside of her and she tugged me pretty hard that last eighth down the lane,” Wright said.
Wright – who favorably compared St. John’s River’s current condition to a colt he galloped up to a second-place finish in the 1995 Derby, Tejano Run – said the filly has been showing signs of improvement since arriving at Churchill from Keeneland, where she stabled in April. Prior to that St. John’s River spent the winter at trainer Andy Leggio’s Fair Grounds base, where she started four times, topped by a second in the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).
“She’s been better here,” Wright said. “She likes the track, likes the mud. She’s gotten feisty, she’s playing a little more this week. She’s a lot more lively since the last work.
“I think she’s the most ready of any of the ones I’ve galloped up here, and I’ve been on some pretty nice ones at Churchill Downs over the years. If the leaders start to tire turning for home they’re in trouble.”
St. John’s River is a full sister to Panty Raid, multiple Grade I winner in 2007 of the American Oaks and the Spinster Stakes.
SUAVE VOIR FAIRE – Fleur de Lis Racing LLC’s Suave Voir Faire galloped up the Polytrack hill at the HighPointe Training Center with regular exercise rider Frederick Carmouche aboard, trainer Speedy Smithwick reported.
“From top to bottom the hill is about three-quarters of a mile,” Smithwick said.
Plans still call for Suave Voir Fare to van to Churchill Downs late Tuesday morning. The Suave filly will be housed in Barn 43, the Oaks barn.
“I’ll probably jog her around a little bit before we come over but I’ll have to watch the weather and see what we can do,” Smithwick said.
Suave Voir Fare has not won a race since breaking her maiden at Turfway Park in October but has enough graded earnings to make the field with third-place finishes in November’s Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill and last month’s Bourbonette Oaks (GIII) at Turfway.
SUMMER SOIREE – Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree returned to the track Monday morning for some exercise during the training period reserved for Oaks/Derby horses.
“She went to the gate and stood and then galloped a mile,” said Dan Rock, assistant to trainer Graham Motion.
Summer Soiree worked a half-mile Saturday.
ZAZU – Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss’ gray filly Zazu stretched her legs at Hollywood Park Monday morning as her final bit of exercise prior to catching a flight from California to Kentucky early on Tuesday.
“We jogged her about a mile and a quarter,” trainer John Sadler said from his Hollywood Park barn not long after the jog. “She’s got a plane at 4 a.m. tomorrow morning.”
Sadler will be flying tomorrow also, though he’ll be on entertainment mogul Jerry Moss’ private jet. “I think we’re leaving at some point in the early afternoon,” Sadler said.
Zazu, who has been first or second in six of her seven lifetime outings, will be handled by Southern California riding star Joel Rosario when she goes postward in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks.