Talkin About Love came into the $200,000 Monmouth Park Breeders’ Cup Oaks (gr. III) (VIDEO) having won her last four allowance races by a combined 19 3/4 lengths, but the 3-year-old had never won a stakes and never tried a distance of over a mile.
If Kevin Sleeter had any questions about how his homebred filly would respond to the new challenges, he received his answer in resounding fashion, as Talkin About Love came from off the pace to score by 1-3/4 lengths Aug. 12.
A New Jersey-bred and local favorite, Talkin About Love went off at odds of 5-2 and paid $7.80, $4.60, $2.60. Longshot Scooter Girl (30-1) was in last for much of the race, but came on strong down the stretch to take second, filling out a generous exacta (6-2) of $106.40. Lady Marlboro, who went off at odds of 3-2, finished in third.
Winning jockey Stewart Elliott said his filly was a little further off the pace (three lengths) than usual, but it didn’t seem to be a problem. “She didn’t mind getting behind horses at all. When I was ready to go, she just took off," he said. "I only rode her in her last race, and she really impressed me. She finished up strong in that race and had plenty of horse left. She came out today and ran great. She’s a very talented filly and showed it.”
Betting co-favorite Exchanging Fire (3-2) set the pace through a :47 2/5 half-mile, but by the time the field of six hit the final turn, Talkin About Love, who had been saving ground through the backstretch, came roaring by to take over. The daughter of Not For Love never trailed in the final furlong but did get pressure from Scooter Girl, who moved well along the rail.
Talkin About Love has now won six races in 10 tries and has hit the board eight times. All her wins have come at Monmouth. She ran the 1 1/16-mile in 1:43 4/5.
“We knew the one-horse (Exchanging Fire) had plenty of speed, so I knew she’d be sitting off her,” said Sleeter. “I didn’t give any instructions. Stewie’s been around this oval more than enough times to know what to do.
“We had a little setback with her. She got a cold four days ago and I was really nervous about that, but she didn’t show any signs of it today. She ran terrific. We’ll go to the ($500,000 Fitz Dixon) Cotillion (Handicap, gr. II) at (Philadelphia Park) next.”