Street Storm, who will be ridden Friday by Shaun Bridgmohan, jogged before the renovation break alongside a pony with exercise rider Williams Cano up. Street Storm will break from post position 10 in the Oaks.
Trainer Steve Margolis was asked how he would like to see Friday’s $1 million Oaks play out for his two fillies.'
“Bouquet Booth has got to step up and run a little faster than she has,” Margolis said. “I like the post (position) and there is a lot of speed in there. I see her sitting maybe six or seven lengths off the pace and tracking the speed.”
Robby Albarado is named to ride Bouquet Booth, but the rider was injured Wednesday afternoon when he was kicked in the face by a horse.
“I know he is not riding this afternoon and we will know more tomorrow,” Margolis said about the availability of Albarado.
As for Street Storm, who has not run since an off-the-turf victory at Fair Grounds on March 8, Margolis said, “She is more of grinder and I think she will lay back in mid-pack. The post is good and the question is if she is a Grade I type horse and can she step up to that level.”
DAISY DEVINE – James M. Miller’s Daisy Devine “did the same thing as yesterday,” trainer Andrew McKeever said, galloping 1 ¼ miles and visiting the paddock during the Oaks-Derby training session.
“We’re just trying to follow the same pattern as New Orleans,” McKeever said, referring to the weeks leading up to Daisy Devine’s win in the richest Kentucky Oaks prep, the $500,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).
Daisy Devine will walk the shedrow the morning of the Oaks.
“She’s a lean, very athletic filly,” McKeever said. “Very well-balanced. When you see her going in the mornings she’s just perfect. She’s typical of what I’d like to see in a filly. You’d want to see a colt be a bit bigger and stronger but she’s perfect.”
James Graham will be aboard the Kafwain filly.
HER SMILE – Celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s latest equine acquisition Her Smile went for a gallop of a mile and three-eighths Thursday morning at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Kevin Willey. The exercise was accomplished during the 15-minute “free track” period for Derby/Oaks horses following the morning renovation break at approximately 8:30.
Trainer Todd Pletcher watched the filly’s gallop – along with those of his two Kentucky Derby colts, Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty – from the track’s grandstand.
Her Smile has been assigned post position seven in the 13-horse Kentucky Oaks field and will have the saddle services of Garrett Gomez. They are listed at 20-1 in the track’s morning line.
HOLY HEAVENS – Drs. K.K. & Vilasini Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens galloped 1 ¼ miles during the Oaks-Derby training session under exercise rider Manuel Huerto Castro.
“She went out undercover in a yellow and white saddle towel,” trainer Benard Chatters said. “I was rushing from work at the (Trackside) training center and the vet called at the same time that I had my bag with everything in it and I went off and left it. So you didn’t see that pink towel but she moved real well this morning.”
Kent Desormeaux has the mount on Holy Heavens.
JOYFUL VICTORY – Fox Hill Farms’ Joyful Victory, the 5-2 morning line favorite in the Kentucky Oaks, galloped with trainer Larry Jones up during the training period for Oaks and Derby horses after the renovation break.
“Once again, I took her to the starting gate and stood and galloped a mile and an eighth,” Jones said. “She will walk the shedrow in the morning.”
KATHMANBLU – As part of his plan for two easy days leading up to the Kentucky Oaks, trainer Ken McPeek once again put his Golden Rod Stakes (GII) winner Kathmanblu through just a light jog this morning. The filly bounced off the track following her exercise during the time reserved for the Derby and Oaks contenders. McPeek said she will not go to the track tomorrow morning on Oaks Day, so all the preparations are complete.
“She’s doing fine and we couldn’t be happier,” McPeek said.
A closer who does her best running late in the race, Kathmanblu figures to get a smart pace set-up with rapid early fractions setting up a late run.
“It’s completely up to Julien Leparoux,” McPeek said. “I’m leaving the race strategy completely in his hands and letting him do his thing. She’s ready and we’ve done what we can do.”
LILACS AND LACE – James Covello and partners’ Lilacs and Lace galloped about a mile under exercise rider Eliel DeJesus Thursday morning in preparation or a start in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks.
The daughter of Flower Alley, who won the Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland in her second start for her new connections and the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields over synthetic surfaces, will be making her first start on dirt since she suffered a rough trip in a seventh-place finish in her debut last year.
Trainer John Terranova has been pleased with his filly’s gallops over the Churchill track, but he isn’t sure how she’ll handle the track in the Oaks.
“You just got to run on it and see. I can’t tell you for sure until you see them do it,” Terranova said. “She’s a very classy filly who has a beautiful stride.”
Lilacs and Lace will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
PLUM PRETTY – Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty galloped once around the main track under exercise rider Peter Hutton Thursday during the training period reserved for Oaks and Derby horses.
Trainer Bob Baffert said the filly is doing well as she prepares for the Oaks.
Plum Pretty earned her trip to Churchill Downs with a 25-length victory in the Sunland Oaks. She drew post 12 in the field of 13 and is 5-1 on the morning line for the Oaks.
ST. JOHN’S RIVER – Dede McGehee’s homebred St. John’s River galloped 1 ½ miles during the Oaks-Derby training session, according to regular exercise rider Robert Wright.
McGehee – who also bred St. John’s River’s full sister, the multiple Grade I winner Panty Raid, but sold that one before she raced – had hoped from the beginning that this would be the filly to get her to the Oaks. St. John’s River was the final foal out of her top broodmare, Adventurous Di, who is now 21, and the Oaks is the race McGehee has always longed to win.
“I wasn’t there when the mare foaled,” McGehee said, “but I told them, ‘If that’s not a filly, you put it back in.’ ”
McGehee currently has nine horses in training, all homebreds under the care of trainer Andy Leggio Jr. She is a veterinarian and the owner of Heaven Trees Farm near Lexington, Ky.
Rosie Napravnik seeks to become the first female jockey to win the Oaks.
SUAVE VOIR FAIRE – Fleur de Lis Racing LLC’s Suave Voir Faire jogged one mile under Sal Gonzalez Jr., accompanied by a pony, during the Oaks-Derby training session.
“We had given her a strong gallop yesterday and we schooled yesterday afternoon so we just wanted her to have a little easy go today,” said Eva Smithwick, wife of trainer Speedy Smithwick.
The schooling session was uneventful.
“She got a little bit warm, but nothing bad, when we first went over,” Eva Smithwick said. “She handled the whole thing quite well, and then we came back here and just grazed her for a while and let her settle in.”
Suave Voir Fare will walk under tack Friday morning.
The 3-year-old Suave filly represents the last foal out of Avie’s Song, who died March 14, 2008, the morning after giving birth to Suave Voir Fare.
“She’s bucked the odds her whole life,” Eva Smithwick said.
SUMMER SOIREE – Team Valor International’s Summer Soiree galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break at 8:30 a.m.
Summer Soiree, a decisive winner of the Bourbonette Oaks (GIII), will start from post position three in the Kentucky Oaks. She is 5-1 on the morning line. Regular rider Gabriel Saez will be in the irons.
Trainer Graham Motion said the post position was perfect for the speedy filly.
Team Valor International purchased Summer Soiree after her 10 ¾-length victory in the Bourbonette and turned her over to Motion. By the hot young sire War Front, Summer Soiree was owned by former Kentucky Gov. Brereton C. Jones and Wahoo Partners LLC. Larry Jones had trained the filly for her last two starts, an Oaklawn Park allowance romp and the Bourbonette.
Motion has had Summer Soiree for a month since the sale and is still learning about her.
“I don’t know much about her. This is the first time I’ve run her,” he said. “That’s why we have Gabby on her because he’s always been on her and I’m going to leave it up to him.
"That was the idea of letting Gabby stay with her. He’s got a lot of confidence in her and knows how she is.”
ZAZU – Zazu had an early gallop at Churchill Downs Thursday morning and was back in her stall at Barn 36 before the sun drew high on a lovely spring morning in Kentucky.
Exercise rider Jose Alferrez was in the saddle and trainer John Sadler was a most-interested observer as the Kentucky-bred miss, a $285,000 yearling purchase, went trackside at 6:20 a.m. for a mile and one-half gallop.
“She galloped strong,” Sadler said afterward. “Both her days on the track here now (she fly in from California Tuesday) she’s galloped well. She schooled well yesterday, too. I’m happy with how she’s doing.”
Sadler, like many, wondered about the weather and the possible condition of the race track for tomorrow’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks, which will go as the 11th race on a 12-race card. Post time is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. (EDT). The local weather forecast calls for the likelihood of showers starting after midnight and possibly continuing on into the morning. Churchill’s track has a reputation for drying quickly, so – barring a heavy rain – a best guess has the strip playing fast by the time the Oaks field of 13 assembles.
“She’ll handle an ‘off’ track,” Sadler said. “She’s trained on one at Santa Anita this winter and she did fine with it.”
Zazu will break from post position six in the Oaks field and have the services of Southern California’s top rider, Joel Rosario. She is listed as the morning line 4-1 co-second choice in the lineup.