Even with a rich $200,000 purse and grade II black-type on offer, only six 3-year-old fillies passed the entry box for the Oct. 1 Indiana Oaks (gr. II) at Hoosier Park.
Zayat Stables’ homebred A Z Warrior, a grade I winner last year, holds the back-class edge in the group that includes grade II winner Daisy Devine and last year’s champion Indiana-bred juvenile filly Perfectly Candid. The 1 1/16-mile race has an approximate post of 5:19 p.m. EDT.
A Z Warrior ships in from Southern California for trainer Bob Baffert. Baffert won last year’s Oaks with Arnold Zetcher’s Always a Princess while Zayat Stables’ Ash Zee ran second. Baffert also won the Indiana Derby (gr. II) with Lookin At Lucky .
A Z Warrior, from Bernardini ’s first crop and winner of last fall’s Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, has only made two starts this year. She ran third behind Turbulent Descent and Zazu in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) in early March then resurfaced Aug. 27 to run a rallying fourth in the six-furlong Victory Ride Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga. She’s put in a pair of solid works since at Santa Anita, getting six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 Sept. 19, then getting the same distance in 1:13 1/5 Sept. 25.
Martin Pedroza will be aboard A Z Warrior, who is out of the Carson City mare Carson Jen.
Marion Gorham’s Perfectly Candid won her first four starts last year, all over the Hoosier Park main track, earning stakes wins in the City of Anderson Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs and the Miss Indiana Stakes at six furlongs. She’s winless in six starts this season while making only two starts beyond six furlongs. By Pleasantly Perfect, out of the Crafty Prospector mare Candor, Perfectly Candid has a 4-0-1 slate from 11 starts and has earned $189,520. She is trained by Robert Gorham and was bred by Gorham and Mast Thoroughbreds.
James Miller’s Daisy Devine, like A Z Warrior, has only one start since spring and has much to prove. Winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), she ran seventh in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and then was given a breather. In her lone start of the summer the daughter of Kafwain ran fifth in the Iowa Oaks (gr. III) at Prairie Meadows at the Indiana Oaks trip.
Out of the Devil’s Bag mare Devil’s Dispute, Daisy Devine worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 Sept. 23 at Keeneland.
A winner on Kentucky Oaks day was William “B” and Graydon Patterson’s Juanita. Fresh off a claim for $25,000, the daughter of Mineshaft won an starter allowance race going a mile earlier on the Churchill Downs card. Shifted to the turf, she won an allowance/optional claimer going a mile at Indiana Downs, then had the lead and tired late to finish fourth in the Dauphin Mile Stakes July 29 at Hollywood Casino at Penn National.
Juanita was bred by Padua Stables and is out of the stakes-winning Smart Strike mare Wishful Splendor. Juanita is trained by Mike Maker.
Also in the line-up for the Oaks is Farnsworth Stables’ Nasty Rumor, winner of the Crystal Rail Stakes at Calder in her last start, and David Blethen’s homebred Withgreatpleasure, who has run third in the Monmouth Oaks (gr. III) and fifth in the Charles Town Oaks in her last pair of starts.
$200,000 Indiana Oaks (gr. II), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (dirt), Race 11, approx. post 5:19 p.m.
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Daisy Devine (KY), J. Graham, 121, A. McKeever
2. Nasty Rumor (MD), L. Goncalves, 119, M. Wolfson
3. Juanita (KY), J. Leparoux, 115, M. Maker
4. Perfectly Candid (IN), O. Mojica, 115, R. Gorham
5. Withgreatpleasure (KY), R. Mojica Jr., 115, D. Nunn
6. A Z Warrior (KY), M. Pedroza, 115, B. Baffert