Tell a Kelly, a romping winner of the Darley Debutante (gr. I), will try two turns for the first time when she faces six juvenile filly opponents in Oak Tree's $250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) Oct. 3 at Hollywood Park.
Among her rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Cushion Track test is the Bob Baffert-trained Alienation, second in Saratoga's Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) in her most recent start. The Oak Leaf, the seventh race on the program with a 4 p.m. PDT probable post, guarantees the winner a starting berth in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Tell a Kelly, a Florida-bred 2-year-old daughter of Tapit out of the Tabasco Cat mare Evrobi, appears to possess the proper pedigree. John Sadler, who trains the chestnut filly, said she was purchased privately by Ike and Dawn Thrash earlier this year after she was bought back for $95,000 at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. March select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Tell a Kelly was lightly regarded in her July debut at Del Mar, going off at nearly 25-1 and finishing fifth after a slow beginning in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event. But she displayed a big turn of foot when rallying to break her maiden at six furlongs by 2 1/2 lengths in her next start Aug. 15.
In her next race, the Darley Debutante at seven furlongs Sept. 4, she rallied from last after a half-mile to win ridden out by an impressive 4 1/2 lengths.
Sadler said he first saw Tell a Kelly in March but did not buy her then even though he liked her appearance. When Ike Thrash called him about her a week later, Sadler told him to go ahead with the purchase.
"It wasn't so much anything caught our eye, it's just she just looked solid," Sadler said. "She looked like she was taking the training very well. We were taking her a lot on the seller's word and he (Greg Dodd) was very high on her. So everything looked solid and we liked Tapit; we think he is a really good young sire."
Alonso Quinonez, who has ridden Tell a Kelly in all of her prior starts, is back aboard. They drew post 6.
Alienation, a daughter of Rock Hard Ten trained by Baffert for his wife, Jill, is also stretching out for the first time. She was no match for R Heat Lightning in the Sept. 6 Spinaway when she was compromised by a stumble at the start and tired in the seven-furlong test after opening a clear lead in the stretch.
The dark bay filly also ran second in the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga this summer after breaking her maiden at first asking on the Hollywood Park turf in July. Martin Garcia regains the mount after Channing Hill rode Alienation in the Spinaway.
Two others come out of the Darley Debutante: third-place finisher Rigoletta, trained by Dan Hendricks, and Izshelegal, who was fourth for Terry Knight.
Jerry Hollendorfer entered Indian Gracey and Pacific Pride. Both are coming off maiden wins at Del Mar.
True Way of Grace won the Barretts Debutante for trainer Alexis Barba at Fairplex Sept. 18.
$250,000 Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I, Race 7, 4 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Synthetic)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Izshelegal (KY), M E Smith, T Knight
2. Rigoletta (FL), D R Flores, D L Hendricks
3. Indian Gracey (FL), J Talamo, J Hollendorfer
4. Alienation (KY), M Garcia, B Baffert
5. True Way of Grace (FL), J Rosario, A Barba
6. Tell a Kelly (FL), A Quinonez, J W Sadler
7. Pacific Pride (KY), R Bejarano, J Hollendorfer
All carry 122 pounds.