Post positions were drawn for Saturday's $250,000 WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks and a group of eight fillies will test at 1-1/16 miles. The undercard of the $500,000 WinStar Derby for the colts includes California invader Cee's Irish as the most accomplished of the field, but she'll have to get past fellow West Coast shipper Pegasus Rose, and some improving local gals to snare the top prize.
The Merv Griffin Ranch Company's versatile Cee's Irish, by Cee's Tizzy
, enters the contest off a neck loss to Thatswhatimean in the one-mile China Doll Stakes March 12 over the Santa Anita Turf. The gray or roan filly has put together earnings of $180,080, much of that from the China Doll and two prior stakes wins in the Blue Norther Stakes over that course in January, and in the Corte Madera Stakes on the main track at Golden Gate Fields.
Bred by C-Punch Ranch, Cee's Irish is conditioned by Doug O'Neill and will have the services of Corey Nakatani in the irons for a stalking trip from post three.
B. Wayne Hughe's front-running Kentucky homebred Pegasus Rose is on the improve for trainer Bob Baffert and should give her fellow California shipper a target to shoot at throughout the match. The daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus
was victorious in her last start Feb. 24 in a one-mile maiden special weight on the main track at Santa Anita, and posted a bullet work (6F, Fast, 1:11.60, H, 1/25) there March 28.
The dark bay or brown filly, out of the Halo mare Wendy's Daughter, should have the pedigree for her first time at the distance and in stakes company. The connections of Hughes, Baffert, and world-class rider Pat Valenzuela should offer her backers confidence at post time.
Pegasus Rose and Valenzuela will break six spots from the rail.
Ready to test these two will be Lathrop G. Hoffman's early-running homebred Dayglogreen out of the five-hole. The gray or roan daughter of Comet Shrine heads into the affair off two straight wins on the New Mexico track's surface, including a 3-1/4-length romp in an overnight handicap March 12.
Bred in California, Daygologreen has never finished worse than second in six starts for trainer Henry Dominguez. Rider Ken Tohill, aboard for the last two wins, seems to have found her best stride and gets the call here.
Recent stakes winners Island Escape (Petionville
), victorious in her last start in the Cactus Cup Handicap at Turf Paradise March 13; and El Paso Times Handicap winner over the Sunland track Merger Talk (Larrupin'), appear to have the best chances to upset.WinStar/Sunland Park Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1-1/16 miles, $250,000, 4:47PM MST.
1--Merger Talk, Alfredo Juarez
2--Island Escape, Casey Fusilier
3--Cee's Irish, Corey Nakatani
4--Air Julie, Glen Murphy
5--Daygolgreen, Ken Tohill
6--Pegasus Rose, Pat Valenzuela
7--Shout to the North, Isaias Enriquez
8--Bounding On, Jorge Martin Bourdieu