Three contenders for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) worked April 20 at Churchill Downs and at the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida.
Summer Applause (Harlan's Holiday—Summer Exhibition, by Royal Academy) worked five furlongs in :59 3/5 around 6:20 a.m. on the main track. Churchill clockers reported splits of :12 2/5; :23 3/5; :47 3/5, and she galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 3/5.
The filly, trained by Bret Calhoun, won the Rachel Alexandra Stakes (gr. III) earlier this year and comes into the May 4 Oaks off a second-place finish to Believe You Can in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). She is owned by Gillian Campbell, R Group Management, and Greenwood Lodge Farm.
“She couldn’t have worked any better,” assistant trainer Dennis “Peaches” Geier said. “She was very relaxed and worked really well.”
After the move, her connections announced Summer Applause would be riddeny by Garrett Gomez in the Oaks.
During the same pre-dawn hour at Churchill, On Fire Baby worked seven furlongs in 1:26 4/5. Anita Cauley’s homebred recorded splits of :13; :25; :49 4/5, and five furlongs in 1:01 4/5. The daughter of Smoke Glacken—Ornate, by Gilded Time, went six furlongs in 1:14 2/5, according to clockers.
On Fire Baby is coming into the Oaks off a two-length victory in the Honeybee Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park. She is trained by Gary Hartlage.
“She went really well,” Hartlage said. “I like to send my horses seven-eighths (of a mile) so they don’t go too fast. Also, we’re getting her ready to run 1 1/8 miles.”
Grace Hall , who could be sent postward as the favorite after her Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II) romp, worked at Palm Meadows for Tony Dutrow, going five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:15 3/5. Her splits were were :25 2/5 and :49 2/5. The Empire Maker filly is owned by Michael Dubb, Bethelem Stables, and The Elkstone Group.