Winner, Other Oaks Runners Fine One Day Later

Winner, Other Oaks Runners Fine One Day Later
Photo: Dave Harmon
Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar
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Trainer Todd Pletcher said May 4 the four Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) participants from his barn, including winner Princess of Sylmar, "came out of the race well."

In addition to winner, Pletcher was also represented by third-place finisher Unlimited Budget, favored Dreaming of Julia (fourth), and Silsita (10th).

"They all pulled up in good order," Pletcher said.

Pletcher said Princess of Sylmar "was able to fire her best shot. We thought she might have a chance if they gave her some pace and they did."

Princess of Sylmar improved her record to five wins and a second in seven starts and increased her bankroll to $827,220 by winning the Oaks at 38-1 odds.

Dreaming of Julia, the 3-2 race favorite, was bumped and squeezed at the start before closing ground late to be beaten less than three lengths.

"She had to deal with that incident at the start, then she had to take up on the turn and it was just too much," Pletcher said. "She might have been able to overcome one of those things, but the two of them virtually eliminated her. I thought she was gutsy to run as well as she did."

Pletcher said the four fillies would head up to his New York barn "either Sunday or Monday." He said he had no special plans for any of them at the moment.

Meanwhile, trainer Richard Mandella said runner-up Beholder was "a little tired, but she appears to be fine."

The 2012 2-year-old filly champion held a two-length lead at one point in the stretch after winning a pace duel with Midnight Lucky, but gave it up to the winner past the sixteenth pole to be second by a half-length. The $190,000 purse for second increased Beholder's career earnings to to $1,765,000 gleaned from five wins and three seconds in nine starts.

Mandella said there was a flight lined up for a return trip to California for the filly May 5.

"I won't run her back quickly," Mandella said. "She'll get a little time. After a while, we'll look around and see what's next."

Jim Barnes, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert, said Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman's Midnight Lucky came out of her fifth-place finish in good shape. "She's good. She's fine. A little tired," Barnes said.

Magdalena Racing's Pure Fun, who was nearly 15 lengths off the pace after the opening half-mile of the race, put in a big run to eventually finish sixth.

"From the three-eighths pole to the quarter pole I thought we were going to give a good rally but just kind of stayed one-paced down the lane," Phil Bauer, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek, said. "We can't be disappointed with her.

"She ate up last night and seemed to come out of the race okay. Five out of the top six finishers were grade I winners so I guess there's no shame in finishing the way she did."

Bauer said McPeek had no specific races on the radar for Pure Fun.

"We'll just regroup," he said. "She's had three races in a short period of time so I think we need to let her rebound out of this race before we consider anything else."

Juddmonte Farms's Close Hatches also came back in good order the morning after her seventh-place finish, according to Kenny McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott.

"She's fine this morning," McCarthy said. "She jogged good this morning and everything so we'll just have to do battle another day."

McCarthy said there was no obvious explanation for the disappointing effort by previously undefeated Close Hatches. However, he echoed his boss' post-race sentiment that perhaps she did not respond well to be taken far off the pace for the first time since her debut.

"It was a bit of a head scratcher," McCarthy said. "Maybe all the talk about how much speed was in there got to the rider."

Trainer Sal Santoro said Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti's Rose to Gold, who finished eighth, came out of the race in good shape according to trainer Sal Santoro.

"She's fine. She cleaned up her feed last night and came out of race all right," Santoro said. "She whacked herself behind the right front ankle and that might have happened at the break.

"I feel bad about that because it might have momentarily knocked Dreaming of Julia off stride a bit and might have compromised her chances. I feel a little guilty about that.

"I just wanted her to run and run good. She had a wide trip, but all in all I am pleased with her. I would have liked a better finish, but she ran her race and has no excuses. Those were great fillies. I am not disappointed in her at all."

Santoro planned to ship Rose to Gold to Ocala in the next few days for a month off before  bringing her back to his home base at Calder.

"When she comes back to Calder, I will put her in light training and pick out a race for her," Santoro said. "The pressure is off now and I have wanted to try her on turf and I think I am going to."

Ninth-place finisher Naveed Chowhan's Seaneen Girl, also was fine following the Oaks, according to Gary Borgemenke, assistant to trainer Bernie Flint.

"A longshot won,'' Borgemenke said. "It was the wrong one. She came back good.''

Seaneen Girl, who went off at 30-1, finished 14 1/2 lengths behind winner Princess of Sylmar, a 38-1 shot.

"It just wasn't her day,'' Borgemenke said.
 

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