Edited Press Release
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Appealing Zophie has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite among eight 3-year-old fillies for the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) March 10 at Fair Grounds Race Course.
In the two most recent renewals of the 1 1/16 mile Oaks, the winning filly has gone on to win the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs – Summerly in 2005 and Ashado in 2004. Additionally, though the Fair Grounds Oaks was not contested last year, the Kentucky Oaks winner, Lemons Forever, raced at the Fair Grounds meet at Louisiana Downs in 2005-06.
In her seasonal debut at three, Appealing Zophie led throughout in the Silverbullettday Stakes (gr. III) when scoring a 4 1/4-length win over the Fair Grounds strip. In her final start as a 2-year-old, she was runner-up in the Delta Princess Stakes after finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) when handicapped by the extreme outside post.
Conditioned by Steve Asmussen, the daughter of Successful Appeal will break from post 7 and will be ridden by John Velazquez, who was aboard for her Silverbulletday victory.
J. Paul Reddam’s Mistical Plan, winner of Santa Anita’s Sunshine Millions Oaks Jan. 27 in her last start, is the second choice in the Oaks at 3-1. Mistical Plan has made just one start outside of California – a second-place finish in the grade III Pocahontas at Churchill Downs in October. Corey Nakatani will ride for trainer Doug O’Neill.
Starlight Stable and D.J. Lucarelli’s Octave is the third choice at 4-1. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Octave will be making her sophomore debut in the Oaks after finishing second by 1 1/2 lengths in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Before that, she finished second in the Matron (gr. I) at Belmont and captured Saratoga’s grade II Adirondack Breeders’ Cup. Regular rider Garrett Gomez gets the call on Octave, who breaks from post 4.
The second and third-place finishers behind Appealing Zophie in the Silverbulletday, Total and Get Ready Bertie, return for the Fair Grounds Oaks. Total won the Letellier Memorial here by 6 3/4 lengths on New Year’s Day, and Get Ready Bertie was the two-length winner of the Tiffany Lass Jan. 13.
Total, trained by Al Stall Jr., will be handled once again by Jesse Campbell. Get Ready Bertie, from the barn of Steve Flint, gets the riding services of winning jockey Edgar Prado.
Completing the Oaks field is Dawn After Dawn, fourth in the Silverbulletday; Whatdreamsrmadeof, a first-level allowance winner here Feb. 10, and Le Chateau, a 10 1/2-length maiden winner Feb. 8.
First post March 10 is 12:35 p.m. CST. The Oaks is the eighth race, with approximate post at 4:08 p.m.
The field for the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) includes:
1-- Mistical Plan (Corey Nakatani, 3-1)
2-- Le Chateau (Robby Albarado, 15-1)
3-- Get Ready Bertie (Edgar Prado, 6-1)
4-- Octave (Garrett Gomez, 4-1)
5-- Whatdreamsrmadeof (Corey Lanerie 8-1)
6-- Dawn After Dawn (Joseph Talamo, 20-1)
7-- Appeal Zophie (John Velazquez, 5-2)
8-- Total (Jesse Campbell, 5-1)