Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008, will have a new jockey when she attempts to get back on the winning track in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) in Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez.
Mike Smith had been aboard the champion throughout her career, including a third-place finish in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland that snapped a string of five consecutive wins in grade I stakes races.
IEAH Stables’ Michael Iavarone announced the rider change and said the filly, now trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., would ship to Churchill Downs next week.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has one of the favorites for the Oaks in his care in West Point Thoroughbreds’ Justwhistledixie, but there’s a chance McLaughlin could saddle a pair of fillies in the big race May 1 at Churchill Downs.
Justwhistledixie, who made Gulfstream Park’s recent Bonnie Miss (gr. II) her fifth consecutive victory, is considered definite for the Oaks. But McLaughlin is also looking at the Oaks as a possible destination for Fitz Just Right, the runner-up in the March 21 Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
“She is training so well,” McLaughlin said about Fitz Just Right. “We were hoping to go to the Black-Eyed Susan (grade II at Pimlico May 15) with a fresh horse, but she is doing so well, you have to take a look at it.”
Both fillies are scheduled to work the morning on Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface.