Trainer Bob Baffert's Santa Catarina, who never has raced on grass, is the 7-2 favorite among fourteen 3-year-old fillies in Saturday's second running of the $750,000 American Oaks at 1 1/4 mile over Hollywood Park's Lakeside Turf Course.
A four-length winner of the June 14 Hollywood Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. II) and second in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 2, Santa Catarina worked well enough over turf last week to earn a start against a European contingent that includes trainer Dermot Weld's top Irish filly Dimitrova, 9-2 second choice on the morning line.
Europeans dominated last year's inaugural when Dublino, who had last raced in France, English-bred Megahertz and Irish-bred Alozaina ran one-two-three. Dublino was subsequently disqualified to second behind Megahertz for stretch interference.
A total of five Europeans whose backgrounds encompass five nations are among Saturday's entrants. Hollywood Park will offer a ten-race card that includes the $300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at seven furlongs and the $100,000 Royal Heroine Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Santa Catarina will take the largest bankroll into the American Oaks. She has earned $600,260 for Bob and Beverly Lewis from a 3-3-2 record in nine starts on dirt.
Baffert also will run Atlantic Ocean, who has banked $552,210 for The Thoroughbred Corporation from a 5-2-1 mark in 13 starts. She has been victorious in one of two starts on grass. Atlantic Ocean won the Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) last November at Hollywood Park.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Irish-bred Swain, Dimitrova is coming off a loss by less than one length in the Irish 1000 Guineas (Ire-I) at The Curragh outside of Dublin. She has posted a 2-1-1 record in five starts for owner Joseph Higgins.
Trainer Bobby Frankel, whose Megahertz won the 2002 American Oaks via disqualification, will saddle Personal Legend, second to Saturday opponent Sand Springs on the Regret Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs on June 14.
Laura de Seroux, whose Dublino was demoted last year, will send out a pair of Irish-bred 3-year-old fillies this year. Liska finished third in a Group III stake at Longchamp in France in her last start. Golden Nepi has been in the money in 10 of 11 starts and took a Group II event in Italy in April, one of her three victories. But when favored in May's Italian Oaks (Italy-I), she was fifth to Meridiana, a German-bred sired by Lomitas. Meridiana is 12-1 on the American Oaks morning line. $750,000 American Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/4 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Fortuitous, Victor Espinoza, 6-1
2. Atlantic Ocean, Patrick Valenzuela, 8-1
3. Meridiana, Tyler Baze, 12-1
4. Santa Catarina, Gary Stevens, 7-2
5. Star Vega, Ron Warren, Jr., 30-1
6. Golden Nepi, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 20-1
7. Liska, Kent Desormeaux, 15-1
8. Go For Glamour, Iggy Puglisi, 30-1
9. Personal Legend, Corey Nakatani, 6-1
10. Dimitrova, Patrick Smullen, 9-2
11. Gal O Gal, Christopher DeCarlo, 20-1
12. Welcome Millenium, Alex Solis, 20-1
13. Sand Springs, Mark Guidry, 8-1
14. Achnasheen, Goncalino Almeida, 20-1
All carry 121 pounds.Avanzado, Joey Franco Among Triple Bend Favorites
Multiple graded stakes winner Avanzado and Joey Franco, whose two-race winning streak includes the May 31 Ack Ack Handicap, are co-high weights at 118 pounds for the Triple Bend. But Bluesthestandard, weighted at 117, seems the likely favorite.
Bluesthestandard took a five-race winning streak into the Lone Star Park Handicap at one mile on May 26 when finishing second to Pie N Burger as the 3-2 favorite. The 6-year-old gelding began his victory streak last Dec. 31 when claimed by trainer Ted West for Jeffrey Sengara at a cost of $50,000. With a pair of graded stakes among his wins, Bluesthestandard has returned $361,700 to date on the investment.$300,000 Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I), 3 7 up, 7 furlongs
PP. Jockey, Wgt.
1. Avanzado, Tyler Baze, 118
2. Primerica, Victor Espinoza, 111
3. Kela, Corey Nakatani, 114
4. Cappuchino, Matt Garcia, 112
5. Publication, Kent Desormeaux, 113
6. Medecis, Alex Solis, 113
7. Geronimo, Jose Valdivia, Jr. 113
8. Cayoke, David Flores, 113
9. Bluesthestandard, Martin Pedroza, 117
10. Joey Franco, Patrick Valenzuela, 118.Southern Oasis Tops Royal Heroine
Southern Oasis, trained by Ron McAnally for owner-breeder Janis Whitham, is the probable favorite in the Royal Heroine after running second to Dublino in the Wilshire Handicap on April 27.
Dublino stablemate Little Treasure, who has won six of 13 lifetime starts, was seventh in the Wilshire, but will carry high weight of 121 pounds in the Royal Heroine, two more than Southern Oasis.$100,000-added Royal Heroine Stakes, fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 mile on turf
1. Chercheuse, David Flores, 115
2. Little Treasure, Kent Desormeaux, 121
3. Innit, Tyler Baze, 115
4. Southern Oasis, Alex Solis, 119
5. a-Belleski, Victor Espinoza, 115
6. Angel Gift, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 115
7. a-Lindsay Jean, Chad Schvaneveldt, 119
8. Magic Mission, Nakatani, 115
9. Polygreen, Stevens, 117