Room Service Rings Up American Oaks Victory
Kentucky shipper Room Service, the only grade I winner in the field, overpowered the leaders in the drive for the wire to tally impressively in the $350,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) May 31 on the Santa Anita Park turf (VIDEO).
"I thought everything in the race was unfolding like I expected it to," said Catalano, who got a seven-furlong move into Room Service over the course May 24. "Going a mile and a quarter, I didn't think she'd get too far back. We were very happy to see the position she was in. When Shaun pulled the trigger and moved a little bit to get a jump on the horses, I thought it was a good move."
The 13th renewal of the American Oaks, previously held at Hollywood Park, was conducted for the first time at Santa Anita.
Outsiders Kissin Lucky Lips and Tiz the Key engaged in a spirited battle for the early lead with Sweet Bliss close also as they fought through opening quarter mile fractions of :24.98, :48.03, and 1:12.02. By then, the three leaders had separated themselves by eight lengths over the rest of the field—including Room Service—who was content to bide her time in sixth.
"We obviously wanted a little pace to run at and we got it," said Bridgmohan, who rode Room Service for the first time in the Ashland. "I happened to work her on the grass at Churchill (five furlongs on May 6) and she's got a great turn of foot on it. She showed that here today."
Smith said he had some traffic problems before getting clear to rally late.
"We got tangled up with Doug O'Neill's filly (Loan Savant, ridden by Mario Gutierrez) and my filly kinda' got turned sideways," he said. "I'd like to have a clean run at them next time but this might be best in the long run. She settled real well today and made a big run, which is what she needs to do."
Overall, her career mark stands at 4-1-2 in seven races with earnings of $546,565.
"She's mainly a grass horse, but she will handle synthetics pretty well," Catalano said. "We'll talk over plans for what's next with Mr. and Mrs. West and make a decision. It was great to be in California with the Wests. The way it worked out, you couldn't have written a better script. We came to Mr. West's hometown and decided to win a race."
"It got a little tight around the quarter pole,"said jockey Joe Talamo of his ride on Nashoba's Gold. "I was going for a spot, but that's horse racing. I really had a good trip up to that point.
"Actually, me and the winner were kind of moving at the same point," he added. "I was going for a hole but they just had a little more momentum and we got squeezed a little bit out of there. I don't know if we'd have won today, but I think we'd have definitely hit the board. It cost her a lot of momentum."
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