The $150,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3), which will be run for the 84th time on Saturday, has a rich history. It is the oldest Oaks run in America (first run in 1871, four years before the Kentucky Oaks), and its roster of winners includes six Hall of Fame fillies and 17 champions of the 19th and 20th Centuries. And this century, it’s been a highly entertaining race as well.
Saturday’s renewal looks to keep the spotlight on some fillies who could develop into stars by the end of the season, including Gary and Mary West’s Splendid Solution.
The roan daughter of Unbridled’s Song * Perfect Solution, by Seeking the Gold, has a perfect record at Monmouth in two starts. After two losing efforts in Kentucky, she shipped to Monmouth and broke her maiden here on June 1, and then came back on June 21 to win a first-level allowance.
Trainer Chad Brown, who’s spending his first season at Monmouth on his own after three years here as Bobby Frankel’s assistant, has not definitely made up his mind about running in the Oaks. But after Splendid Solution’s breeze here Tuesday, he’s sure leaning that way.
“It would be a big step up for her,” said Brown, “and I really want to see who enters. But she breezed very, very well here yesterday, and she’s doing really well right now.”
The filly turned in a five-furlong move Tuesday morning that impressed Monmouth’s clockers and earned Splendid Solution a bullet for her effort. She zipped the distance in 1:02 1/5, best of the morning, and looked sharp doing it.
Splendid Solution has not run since June 21, although she has been entered twice since then and scratched as a “main track only” runner in races that stayed on the turf.
“She’s just a tiny little thing,” Brown said of the filly, “and she had those two races here in 21 days. I wanted to give her a break, but the way it’s worked out, her training got messed up. The only races I found for her were on the turf, where we entered as main track only. And then scratched.
“But that was a beautiful breeze on Tuesday, and she’s ready to go again, so I’ll take a long look at the Oaks.”
Definite starters for the Monmouth Oaks include Acoma, African Violet, Dance Hall Days and Whirlie Bertie