Stablemates Testa Rossi and Kitten Kaboodle, both graded-stakes winners in 2013 from the barn of trainer Chad Brown, will make their first appearances as sophomores in the March 8 Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies attracted a full field of 12 and two also-eligibles. One of three graded stakes on the card, it precedes the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. II) and has an approximate post time of 4:55 p.m. EST.
Testa Rossi, a French-bred daughter of Dr Fong out of the Dancing Spree mare Peggy Lane, has not raced since rallying from 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) to grab the runner-up spot by 2 1/2 lengths.
Owned by James Covell, Thomas Coleman, and DMZ Racing Stable, Testa Rossi burst onto the North American racing scene with a come-from-behind victory in her first stateside start, the Miss Grillo Stakes (gr. IIIT) last October at Belmont Park. Prior to that, she won or placed in four of her first five starts in her native France.
Bred by Barbara Moser, 2-1 favorite Testa Rossi will carry co-topweight of 122 pounds along with Kitten Kaboodle. She will break from outside post under jockey Jose Lezcano, who was aboard in her last two outings.
Kitten Kaboodle, who gains the services of jockey Javier Castellano for the first time, must overcome the difficult inside post position. The daughter of Kitten's Joy was most recently a distant 11th, beaten 8 1/4 lengths in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf. Prior to that, however, she scored an easy 4 3/4-length victory in the JP Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Kitten Kaboodle races as a homebred for the powerhouse racing stable of Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Both Testa Rossi and Kitten Kaboodle have been training steadily at Palm Meadows in Florida. In their most recent works, they each covered four furlongs in :47 3/5 and were the co-fastest of 27 horses at that distance March 3.
Miss Besilu, a stakes-placed runner this year in Florida, is also worthy of consideration in the Florida Oaks. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has the advantage of having already campaigned twice in the Sunshine State this year. After breaking her maiden last December at Gulfstream Park, she ran second in the Jan. 5 Ginger Brew Stakes, and then scored a neck victory in an allowance optional claiming contest at the South Florida track Feb. 8. All three races were at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
Miss Besilu is trained by Bill Mott for Besilu Stables and will break from post 10 under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
$200,000 Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT, approximate post time 4:55 p.m. EDT), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Kitten Kaboodle (KY), J Castellano,122, C C Brown, 8-1
2. Interrupted (KY), A Serpa, 116, H G Motion, 15-1
3. Babe's Ruler (FL), D Centeno, 116, J Scott, 15-1
4. Jerry Love (AR), J R Leparoux, 116, M J Trombetta, 8-1
5. Spangled Banner (KY), F De La Cruz, 116, E G Harty, 20-1
6. Runway Giant (KY), R D Allen, Jr., 116, I R Wilkes, 20-1
7. Annulment (KY), G Boulanger, 116, V H Oliver, 20-1
8. Duff One (KY), E Wilson, 116, G C Contessa, 6-1
9. Istanford (FL), J Rocco, Jr., 116, M Stidham, 12-1
10. Miss Besilu (VA), S Bridgmohan, 116, W I Mott, 4-1
11. Ready's Legend (KY), E S Prado, 116, T A Pletcher, 12-1
12. Testa Rossi (FR), J Lezcano, 122, C C Brown, 2-1
13 (AE). Resistivity (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, M E Casse, 10-
14 (AE). Grand Elmendorf (KY), A A Gallardo, 116, M Sancal, 30-1