Trainer Bob Baffert's brilliant 2-year-old filly Point Ashley likely will be an odds-on favorite in Saturday's $250,000 Oak Leaf Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. I) at 1 1/16 miles.
Zayak Stables' Point Ashley validated an impressive maiden victory with a handy 2 1/2-length win in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I) over seven furlongs on Sept. 4.
"I knew she was a good filly the first time I was on her," noted jockey Victor Espinoza, "but the second time I was sure of it. The distance should be no problem for her. The longer the better."
Point Ashley, who stalked effectively in the Del Mar Debutante and rushed the leaders on the turn, drew the outside post in a field of eleven Saturday.
Baffert surprised some when he removed blinkers after the filly's four-length maiden victory. The daughter of Point Given
out of a Slew o' Gold mare responded with a commanding performance in the Debutante. Another victory in the Oak Leaf would make her the one to beat in the 1 1/16-mile Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.
Surprisingly, considering Point Ashley's dominance earlier, the Oak Leaf drew 11 contestants. Point Ashley will start from the far outside post.
One to watch out for is the California-bred Tonja's World, who broke her maiden at Del Mar by nearly 11 lengths going a mile in her second start for trainer Cliff Sise.
Cash Included also beat maidens at Del Mar in her second start, after which owner J. Paul Reddam purchased her privately and transferred her to trainer Craig Dollase.$250,000 Oak Leaf Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 4:30 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Ces't Mark (CA), Aaron T. Gryder
2. Tonja's World (CA), David R. Flores
3. Pinata (KY), Garrett K. Gomez
4. Spenditallbaby (CA), Clinton L. Potts
5. Back in the Shade (FL), Alex O. Solis
6. Adoradora (KY), Jorge F. Chavez
7. Shes Got Skills (KY), Patrick A. Valenzuela
8. Outofthepast (FL), Isaias D. Enriquez
9. Quick Little Miss (KY), Jon K. Court
10. Cash Included (KY), Corey S. Nakatani
11. Point Ashley (KY), Victor EspinozaEach assigned 122 pounds.