Most of the horses running in the Sunshine Millions stakes are stabled in South Florida or Southern California, but the probable favorite for the $250,000 Ocala Stud Oaks at six furlongs will arrive by van from Ocala.
Cloverleaf IV Stable and Krista Seltzer's Knights Templar, trained by Danny Vellas, was last seen setting the pace into the far turn of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Belmont Park before tiring to sixth behind Folklore.
The speedy daughter of Exploit returns to competition after a steady series of workouts posted at Frank Stronach's Adena Springs Farm in Ocala. Jockey Eddie Castro gets the call. Prior to the Breeders' Cup, Knights Templar won three of six starts at Woodbine, notably the Mazarine Breeders' Cup (Can-III) by 13 1/4 lengths in a performance, that encouraged her connections to try her at Belmont.
Two other intriguing contenders in a full field of 14 3-year-old fillies entered in the Ocala Stud Oaks are J. Paul Reddam and Rockin BB Ranch's Peach Flambe, with Javier Castellano named; and Joe Pesci and Wesley Ward's Home Alona, with Elvis Trujillo.
Peach Flambe was developed at Monmouth Park last summer by trainer Mary Wisniewski-Johnson, winning her debut and finishing fifth in the NATC Futurity for fillies. She shipped south for her third start to win the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies at Calder Nov. 15 by seven lengths.
Wisniewski-Johnson brought her over to Gulfstream not long thereafter to point for this race, but she was sold privately to the powerful Reddam stable and placed with trainer Mark Hennig to continue preparation Saturday's test.
Academy Award-winning actor Pesci and trainer Ward start Home Alona, a daughter of Game Plan bred in California by Ward. She comes into the race after winning her only career start at Golden Gate Fields by two lengths Dec. 8.
Eleven of the 14 starters are Florida-bred.$250,000 Sunshine Millions Ocala Stud Oaks (Race 7, 4:05 p.m. ET), 3-year-old fillies bred in California & Florida, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey
1. Bully Bones (FL), Tony Farina
2. Swap Fliparoo (FL), Andrew Lakeman
3. Lizzy's Township (FL), Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Knights Templar (FL), Eddie Castro
5. Running Lass (FL), Rafael Bejarano
6. Bettarun Fast (FL), Pat Valenzuela
7. Peach Flambe (FL), Javier Castellano
8. Fifth Avenue (FL), Edgar Prado
9. A Sea Trippi (FL), Mike Smith
10. Lake Alice (FL), Kristi Chapman
11. Joint Effort (FL), Mark Guidry
12. Home Alona (CA), Elvis Trujillo
13. Windy (CA), Alex Solis
14. Devons Smokin (CA), John VelazquezEach filly assigned 120 pounds.