Trainer Mark Casse will enter the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park as the defending champion, having won the 2006 and 2007 editions with Top Notch Lady and Sealy Hill and owning five overall victories in the race. This year he saddles the lightly-raced Clearly Foxy, whose last start was a solid sixth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Will Clearly Foxy bring Casse another victory? It could happen, but this Volponi filly still has a lot to prove.
The March 22 Bourbonette, part of Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) day at the Florence Ky. track, has drawn a field of eight 3-year-old fillies including the Ken McPeek-trained A to the Croft, who was ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The top three finishers from Turfway’s Feb. 23 Valdale Stakes also tackle the one-mile event over Polytrack.
The artificial surface may be Clearly Foxy’s key to victory, as both of her starts resulted in wins over the turf for owner Charles Laloggia before her trip through the slop at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.
“I was really quite happy with her race in the Breeders' Cup, I mean, as happy as you can be finishing sixth,” Casse said. “She got away bad and down the backside she was last, and to have the courage to come from 14th even to be sixth – I don't think there's too many fillies in North America that would have done that.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hopewell Investments and Tim Kegel out of the Pulpit mare Sermon, Clearly Foxy won Woodbine’s Natalma Stakes (gr. IIIT) as a 2-year-old after breaking her maiden first time out. Sharing the high weight of 121 in the Bourbonette, she breaks from the five hole under regular rider Patrick Husbands.
“I know she really likes the turf, and I think she likes a synthetic track that is pretty firm,” Casse said. “If it gets loose she's going to struggle, but if the track is firm enough she's going to be tough.”
Also unraced since an effort in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies is Koolmen Racing Stable’s A to the Croft, whose ninth-place finish in that race came after a promising string of second-place efforts in the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) and Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, and in Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I). The Menifee filly, bred in Kentucky by Jim Squires out of the Devil’s Bag mare Heart Warmer, lost by just a length over the Polytrack in the Alcibiades after making a five-wide bid. She breaks from post seven with jockey Robby Albarado.
Trainer Greg Foley, a Turfway Park regular, has the co-highweight in Lloyd Madison Farms’ Valdale Stakes winner Valentine Fever, who came into that race off an eight-length score in the Jan. 19 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes. The homebred daughter of Stormin Fever, out of the Gilded Timemare Betshe Hath a Way, should be tough in this effort with a 4-5 record over Polytrack at Turfway and Keeneland. In fact, her single finish worse than fourth was a 12th-place disappointment in Churchill Downs’ Pocahontas Stakes (gr. III), her only attempt over dirt. Julien Leparoux is onboard, riding from the three hole.
Second in the Valdale by just a nose was McKee Stables’ Kentucky homebred Love Buzz, a Silver Charm filly who ran third in the Cincinnati Trophy for trainer Dale Romans. Out of the Open Forum mare Open Story, Love Buzz has just one victory from 14 starts but was fourth in Churchill’s Debutante Stakes (gr. III) and Arlington Park’s Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes (gr. III) last summer. She also finished fourth in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, a race won by likely Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) starter Sky Mom. Jockey Kent Desormeaux gets the mount and the rail.
$150,000 Bourbonette Oaks Stakes (gr. III, race 10, approximate post 5:39 p.m. EST), one mile, 3-year-old fillies, Polytrack PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Love Buzz, 115, Kent Desormeaux
2. Lovers Spat, 117, John McKee
3. Valentine Fever, 121, Julien Leparoux
4. Maren's Meadow, 115, Gabriel Saez
5. Clearly Foxy, 121, Patrick Husbands
6. Morakami, 115, Edgar Prado
7. A to the Croft, 115, Robby Albarado
8. Downtown Drifter, 115, Miguel Mena