Paul Pompa Jr.'s Morrow Cove has stamped herself as a talented filly on the improve in her past two starts for trainer Graham Motion. Whether she's good enough to get a graded score will be discovered Aug. 11 at Monmouth Park, when the 3-year-old runner goes postward against five peers in the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III).
After overpowering four others in a May 19 allowance at Delaware Park with a 10 3/4-length score going a mile and 70 yards, the daughter of Yes It's True rolled by 4 3/4 lengths in the July 15 Serena's Song Stakes at the same distance at Monmouth. Her only poor performance in five starts was an April 13 sixth in the Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn Park after being jostled coming down the lane.
The 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Oaks is a first start at the distance for Motion's filly, who will break from post five under 117 pounds including rider Paco Lopez.
Not so for Jemima's Pearl, who won going 1 1/16 miles March 9 at Santa Anita Park. Then under the care of Bob Baffert and making her U.S. debut after five starts in Ireland, she got the victory by a nose and went on to finish third going the same distance in the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 11.
The sophomore daughter of Distorted Humor has not raced since a 10th-place finish in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), which was only her third U.S. start for Gillian S. Campbell, R Group Management LLC, and Greenwood Lodge Farm, Inc. She makes her first outing for trainer Bret Calhoun in the Monmouth Oaks and has turned in one work over the New Jersey oval, a three-furlong move in :35.60 breezing, fastest of 29 at the distance on Aug. 5.
Becky Winemiller's Wine Princess, who drew the rail and carries 117 with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, took a one-mile allowance event June 29 at Churchill Downs by 2 1/2 lengths after forcing the pace on the inside. That victory earned in convincing fashion was her second for trainer Steve Margolis after an impressive five-length maiden win May 4 going a mile at Churchill; the Ghostzapper filly waited in traffic and had to swing out around a drifting rival in mid-stretch before continuing on to the win. That race was preceded by a runner-up effort first time out and followed by a fourth-place finish in allowance company on the turf before the recent win.
Final Escrow broke her maiden by nine lengths going a mile May 30 at Penn National, and followed up with an allowance win by 2 3/4 going the same distance July 9 at Delaware. The homebred daughter of Bernardini campaigns for Waterville Lake Stable and is trained by Leigh Delacour. She pressed the pace in her Penn National win, and came from third at Delaware to seal the deal. Kendrick Carmouche makes up part of a 115-pound impost from the four hole.
Motion also sends out Pearl Bloodstock's Proud Pearl, a Proud Citizen filly seeking her first win since a March 10 optional claimer going a mile at Laurel Park. She was fourth last out in the June 30 Lady Charles Town Stakes going seven furlongs. Joe Bravo rides from the two slot.
Defy Gravity, the veteran in the field with 12 starts for RNR Stable, completes the field. Her last start resulted in a fifth-place effort in the July 7 Azalea Stakes (gr. III). Her last win was the six-furlong Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park last November. Valora Testerman will saddle. Carlos Marquez Jr. rides from post three.
$100,000 Monmouth Oaks (gr. III, Race 10, approximate post 5:26 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles (dirt)
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Wine Princess (KY), S. Bridgmohan, 117, S Margolis
2. Proud Pearl (KY), J. Bravo, 115, H G Motion
3. Defy Gravity (KY), C.H. Marquez Jr., 115, V A Testerman
4. Final Escrow (KY), K. Carmouche, 115, L Delacour
5. Morrow Cove (KY), P. Lopez, 117, T A Pletcher
6. Jemima's Pearl (KY), E. Trujillo, 115, W B Calhoun