“She came out of the work real good and ate up, which is good to see when she worked as fast as she did,” trainer Dan Peitz said.
“After the Fantasy, we thought we might try to make it to the Oaks, but we have crammed in a lot so fast,” Peitz said of Arienza, who did not make her racing debut until March 6. “I am leaning toward the Eight Belles. Mr. Low says she doesn’t have to run there either and they are going to be here.
“If we are not 100 percent happy with her, we will wait for another spot. We will let her tell us what to do and go from there.”
BOUQUET BOOTH – Right Time Racing’s Bouquet Booth walked the shedrow this morning at trainer Steve Margolis’ barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:02.20.
“She came out of the work fine and will go back to the track and jog tomorrow,” Margolis said of the Flower Alley filly who will be ridden in the Oaks by Robby Albarado.
DAISY DEVINE – James Miller’s bay filly Daisy Devine galloped a mile and one quarter at 8:30 following the Churchill Downs’ renovation break with former rider Larry Melancon in the saddle and trainer Andrew McKeever looking on.
“It’s all good and we’re doing great,” said McKeever, making the sign of the cross and flashing a big Irish smile.
James Graham is scheduled to ride Daisy Devine in the Oaks.
DELIGHTFUL MARY – John Oxley’s Delightful Mary was withdrawn from Kentucky Oaks consideration by her connections following a five-furlong work of 1:01.60 on Friday.
“It was a good work yesterday, but we wanted a tremendous work and we did not get that,” said Norman Casse, son of and assistant to trainer Mark Casse. “I think she is going to go back to Woodbine and regroup. There are no definite plans for her next race. We will let her tell us when she is ready.”
HER SMILE/R HEAT LIGHTNING – Celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Her Smile galloped a mile and a quarter Saturday morning with exercise rider Kevin Willey aboard. They went trackside at 8:30 following the renovation break when the track is reserved for Oaks and Kentucky Derby runners.
“We’re going to work her tomorrow at 8:30 following the break,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’ll see how she goes and then I’ll talk to Bobby. If we decide to run, Garrett Gomez will ride her.”
Her Smile, a daughter of Include bred in Virginia, was purchased privately following her second-place finish in the Comely Stakes (GIII) at Aqueduct in New York April 9. She’s never finished off the board in seven lifetime starts, including a trio of victories.
E. Paul Robsham Stables’ R. Heat Lightning, the likely favorite in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks, put in her final drill for the headliner Saturday morning, working a half-mile under exercise rider Hector Ramos at 8:45, a drill that the clocker’s caught in :48.20. Ramos galloped his eager filly around past the six-furlong pole with assistant trainer Mike McCarthy alongside on a pony, then went on his own with his Trippi filly under stout restraint. He let out a notch on her coming to the half-mile pole and the racy bay zoomed into her exercise.
Coming to the quarter pole, Ramos had to alter course slightly when he encountered a pair of 2-year-olds blowing out a quarter mile down the lane right along the rail. The rider shifted out and went on by the twosome inside him, all the while never really letting his charge have her head. Churchill clockers caught R Heat Lightning’s splits in :11.80, :23 and :34.80, then gave her a gallop out time of 1:01.80.
“Some might say she’s headstrong,” said Pletcher, who watched the move from the Churchill Downs grandstand. “But I just think she’s very enthusiastic about her work. She’ll go on a light schedule from here on out up to the race on Friday.”
HOLY HEAVENS – Holy Heavens, owned and bred by K.K. and V. Devi Jayaraman, just walked the shedrow Saturday morning, but will pick up the pace Sunday heading toward her Friday date in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks.
“I’m going to send her a two-minute mile,” said trainer Benard Chatters, making reference to a training procedure that falls between a gallop and a full work. “I’m hoping to get (Kent) Desormeaux to be up on her for me.”
Hall of Famer Desormeaux will be aboard the chestnut filly for the first time in a race on Friday. The Florida-bred has had five riders in her nine-race career thus far and sports two wins, two seconds and two thirds for purses of $141,440.
JOYFUL VICTORY – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break.
Joyful Victory is scheduled to breeze under jockey Gabriel Saez on Sunday morning.
Trainer Larry Jones was up for the filly’s morning exercise during the time reserved for Derby and Oaks horses following the renovation break.
“Everything went well,” Jones said. “I was on again. That’s two days in a row that she packed me around there, so she really should be getting fit.”
KATHMANBLU – With jockey Julien Leparoux up, Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ Kathmanblu worked five furlongs in 1:01.80 over a fast track after the renovation break, the 16th fastest of 36 works at the distance.
Working on her own, Kathmanblu clicked off fractions of :12.20, :24.40, :36.80, :49 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.20.
“It was a nice and steady work,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “I got her last quarter in :24, which is all we wanted.”
Also working for McPeek after the renovation break in the time reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks horses was Landaluce Educe Stables’ Niji’s Grand Girl, third-place finisher in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start.
Working with Sassy’s Dream, Niji’s Grand Girl covered five furlongs in 1:02, the 17th fastest clocking of the morning at the distance.
“I have not ruled it out,” McPeek said of an Oaks run for Niji’s Grand Girl.
Niji’s Grand Girl, as well as Sassy’s Dream, are nominated to the $100,000 Edgewood Presented by Kentucky National Insurance to be run at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass on Oaks Day.
LILACS AND LACE – James Covello and partners’ Lilacs and Lace breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 under exercise rider Eliel DeJesus following the renovation break Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.
“She just had an easy five-eighths. We just wanted to see how she got over the track and everything seemed to go good. She started off easy and seemed to finish up well,” trainer John Terranova said.
Lilacs and Lace, who captured the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface last time out, has run only once on dirt, a distant eighth-place finish in her career debut.
“I think she handles it great. She’s a great moving filly and she gets over the ground really, really nicely. My rider said she feels great going over it,” Terranova said.
Javier Castellano, who rode the daughter of Flower Alley in the Ashland, has the return mount for the Kentucky Oaks.
PLUM PRETTY – Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty spent some time standing in the starting gate and then galloped a mile and a half during the period reserved for Oaks and Derby horses following the renovation break
Trainer Bob Baffert said the filly, a 25-length winner of the $200,000 Sunland Oaks, is likely to breeze Monday morning. Baffert said Plum Pretty is doing everything right in her preparation for the Oaks.
“She’s very lightly raced, but her last race at Sunland was pretty amazing. I’ve never had a horse win by 25,” Baffert said. “She’s been training really well here. It’s a big field, so she needs to be up there close, I think. There is a lot of speed in there. That’s another pretty tough race, a wide-open race.”
Martin Garcia will ride the filly in the Kentucky Oaks.
ST. JOHN’S RIVER – Dede McGehee’s St. John’s River was a shedrow walker again Saturday morning, then returned to her stall in Barn 43 where she amused herself with a tether ball hung above its doorway. She has worked five furlongs at Churchill Downs Thursday in 1:00.80 and had walked the day after.
The 3-year-old filly is overseen by veteran trainer Andy Leggio Jr., the Louisiana horseman who had good luck with a sharp filly named Happy Ticket a few years back.
“St John’s River will go back to galloping tomorrow,” Leggio said. “She’ll gallop up to the race. It’s all downhill from here.”
SUAVE VOIR FAIRE – Fleur De Lis Stable’s Suave Voir Faire jogged Saturday morning under Frederick Carmouche at the HighPointe Training Center.
“She’s very good this morning,” trainer Speedy Smithwick said of Suave Voir Faire, who worked five furlongs in :59.80 on Friday. “She cleaned up her feed last night, which she normally doesn’t do after she works. She jogged this morning and probably will get the day off tomorrow.”
Miguel Mena has the Oaks riding assignment on Suave Voir Faire, who ran third in last fall’s Golden Rod (GII) in her lone Churchill Downs appearance.
SUMMER SOIREE – Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree breezed a half-mile in :48.80 Saturday morning under exercise rider Heather Craig.
“She went great. She went perfect,” trainer Graham Motion said. “She’s had two really fast works at Keeneland. I said today, I just wanted to have an easy go. It’s completely the opposite of what I wanted to do with Animal Kingdom. She just went a handy half-mile in :48 and change. I said to shut her down after the wire. I don’t want her galloping out too strong. She’s a filly that wants to do a lot in the morning. Today was just about giving her a little blow and setting her up for Friday.”
Motion moved the work up a day because rain is in the forecast for Sunday.
“I wanted to do it on Sunday, but the weather was just too iffy,” he said. “I thought it was crazy to wait and then have to breeze her on a sloppy track. There was no sense in doing that.”
ZAZU – Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss’ Zazu turned in her final workout prior to her start Friday in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks when she covered seven furlong in 1:24.40 at Hollywood Park on Saturday morning.
“She went really well; we’re very pleased,” said trainer John Sadler from his Hollywood barn. “Joel Rosario was aboard for the move and he’ll ride her Friday.”
Zazu has been first or second in six of her seven starts, including a tally in the Las Virgenes (GI) in February at Santa Anita. She figures to be among the favorites for the nine-furlong Oaks.
“We’ll see how she comes out of this work tomorrow,” Sadler said, adding, “then train her a bit more after that. On Tuesday, she’s on a plane to Louisville. I’m on a plane that day, too, but it’s the Moss’ private jet. We’re all looking forward to the trip to Kentucky.”
BARN TALK – In additions to the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, five other stakes will be on the card, four of them graded.
Topping the undercard will be the 26th running of the $300,000 La Troienne Presented by Blackberry/RIM (GII) and the 20th running of the $200,000 American Turf Presented by Ram (GII). Also on the card will be the eighth running of the $300,000 Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables (GIII), the 56th running of the $100,000 Eight Belles Presented by ACS, a Xerox Company (GIII) and the 27th running of the $100,000 Edgewood Presented by Kentucky National Insurance.
Churchill Downs officials are anticipating a rematch of the 1-2 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) finishers, Unrivaled Belle and 2010 Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Blind Luck in the La Troienne. Other fillies and mares considered as probable for the 1 1/16-mile main track test are Absinthe Minded, All Due Respect, Payton d’Oro, Quiet Giant, Ravi’s Song, Seeking the Title, Spring Party and Stage Magic.
The American Turf figures to feature a rematch of Air Support and Great Mills, the 1-2 finishers from the April 8 Transylvania (GIII) at Keeneland. Other probables for the 1 1/16-mile test are Banned, Close Ally, Cozy Kitten, Jakesam, Kippers n’ Eggs, Memen (IRE), Private Prize, Surrey Star (IRE) and Tag V Eye.
The Alysheba, run at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track and a prep for the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) here on June 18, is expected to attract 2010 Clark Handicap (GI) winner Giant Oak and a host of other top handicap horses. Other probables include Demarcation, Equestrio, First Dude, Icabad Crane, Kensei, Mission Impazible, Modern Cowboy, Northern Giant, Regal Ransom and Wise Dan. Millionaire Awesome Gem is considered as possible.
Topping the probables for the Eight Belles for 3-year-old fillies going seven furlongs on the main track, is Might, the younger sister of 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Blame. Other probables are Formal Plan, Holiday Flare, Home Sweep Aspen, Jelly Cable, Mysterious Chimes, Pomeroys Pistol, Silent Moon and Victoria’s
Wildcat with Just Louise considered as possible.
Probables for the Edgewood for 3-year-old fillies going a mile and a sixteenth on the Matt Winn Turf Course are Alec’s Moon, Bonita Star (GB), Diva Ash, Gaya, Holidaysatthefarm, My Phi Temper, Niji’s Grand Girl, Sassy’s Dream, Smart Sting, Street Storm and Subpoena.