St. John's River finished second in the Kentucky Oaks.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

St. John's River finished second in the Kentucky Oaks.
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Anne M. Eberhardt

St. John's River Looking to Shine in Oaks

Filly was second by a neck to Plum Pretty in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

St. John's River may not have a stakes win under her belt like the majority of her rivals in the July 9 Delaware Oaks (gr. II), but considering her recent hard trying efforts, the daughter of Include  appears poised and ready for a major triumph.

Only time will tell whether the Andrew Leggio-trained St. John’s River will advance from bridesmaid to bride status, however, as she and six other 3-year-old fillies go to post in the 1 1/16-mile race at Delaware Park. The ninth race on the card is slated for an approximate post time of 4:51 p.m.

While a stakes win has thus far eluded her, St. John’s River has fared the best in graded stakes company of her Delaware Oaks foes and has amassed the most earnings with a bankroll of $320,070. She ran second by a half-length in the March 26 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) and was runner-up again, rallying from last to finish just a neck behind Plum Pretty in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Her overall record stands at 1-3-1 from five starts.

“We were pleased with the way she ran in the Oaks—it showed she could really run with that quality of horses and we’re going to keep moving forward with her,” said Leggio, a 77-year-old native of Louisiana who has been training for more than four decades. “She’s been training great since then…I am concerned about the (1 1/16-mile Delaware Oaks) distance…it may be a little short for her—she’ll be coming from behind at the end—it’s just a question of whether she’ll get there in time.”

St. John’s River is owned by Dede McGehee, who bred the filly in Kentucky in the name of her Lexington-based Heaven Trees Farm. Out of the Private Account mare Adventurous Di, she is a half sister to dual grade I winner Panty Raid.

St. John’s River posted her most recent work at Delaware Park, covering four furlongs in :48.20. In the Delaware Oaks, she will break from the outside post position seven under jockey Rosie Napravnik, who was also aboard for the Kentucky Oaks.

Two other Delaware Oaks fillies showing recent talent are All for Thee and Daring Reality, who ran first and second, respectively in the June 4 Go for Wand Stakes at Delaware.

Trained by Anthony Dutrow for David Cottie and Smart Angle, All for Thee has won three of her four lifetime starts, the two most recent of which came at Delaware Park.

After breaking her maiden by an impressive 6 1/2 lengths at Oaklawn March 27, All for Thee captured a May 7 allowance contest at Delaware, followed by a two-length victory in the Go for Wand in her black-type debut.

Bred in Kentucky by Robert and Lawana Low, All for Thee is by Elusive Quality—Primetimevalentine, by Affirmed. She will break from post 4 under jockey Jeremy Rose in the Oaks.

Daring Reality, who won the Wanda Stakes at Belmont Park prior to her second-place Go for Wand effort, enters the Delaware Oaks with a slate of 3-3-1 from nine starts. Trained by Cathal Lynch, she is owned by David and Margaret Wimer and will break from post 2.

Rounding out the field are other stakes winners Soundwave, Snow Fall, and Dance Quietly, and stakes-place runner Strike the Moon.

$300,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II, race 9, 4:51 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles
Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Strike the Moon, J Pimentel, 116, M J Trombetta
2. Daring Reality, O Castillo, 116, C A Lynch
3. Dance Quietly, G Saez, 116, T A Pletcher
4. All for Thee, J Rose, 118, A W Dutrow
5. Snow Fall, A Castellano Jr., 116, M Stidham
6. Soundwave, J Rocco Jr., 116, B Tagg
7. St. John’s River, R Napravnik, 116, A Leggio Jr.