Plum Pretty

Plum Pretty

Mathea Kelley

Plum Pretty Lands in Hollywood Oaks

Kentucky Oaks winner stays home after illness knocks her out of Mother Goose.

Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Plum Pretty, coming off an illness that knocked her out of consideration for the Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) in New York June 25, was entered instead in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) on the same day at Hollywood Park.

Trainer Bob Baffert reported that Plum Pretty had developed a high temperature reading June 20 and would not be making the cross-country trip to Belmont Park for the Mother Goose, instead remaining in Baffert's Santa Anita stable.

But in an unusual twist, Baffert discovered that Peachtree Stable's 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  had recovered quickly from her illness. He entered Plum Pretty in the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Oaks and indicated he would decide later whether she should start.

There are only four others in the field, with Baffert passing over three other candidates in his own barn and trainer Richard Mandella opting to keep Rumor out of the lineup. Among those remaining is Zazu, the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) winner at Santa Anita this winter who went on to finish a good closing third in the Kentucky Oaks, 2 3/4 lengths behind Plum Pretty.

The Hollywood Oaks, to be contested over the Cushion Track, is the eighth race on the program with a 4:35 p.m. PDT probable post.

If she goes, Plum Pretty would be the second filly in a row to run in the Hollywood Oaks following a victory in the Kentucky Oaks. Blind Luck finished second last year to Switch as the Hollywood Oaks favorite. Only one other filly has won both races, Fran's Valentine in 1985 for trainer Joe Manzi and owner Earl Scheib’s Green Thumb Farm Stable.

Plum Pretty has won three of five starts and earned $761,200. The Pennsylvania-bred filly broke her maiden in her debut at Oak Tree's Hollywood Park meet last October, then ran third in both the Santa Ynez (gr. II) and Las Virgenes in her next two starts at Santa Anita. She finished behind Zazu in both of those races.

She won the Sunland Park Oaks in New Mexico by an astounding 25 lengths prior to her victory in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks, which she achieved by a neck over the fast-closing St. John's River.

Baffert won the Hollywood Oaks with Santa Catarina in 2003 and Tough Tiz’s Sis in 2007. Martin Garcia retains the mount on Plum Pretty, the 123-pound top weight.

Zazu, carrying 119, can make a bit of history for trainer John Sadler, who saddled Switch in last year's Hollywood Oaks. He could become the first conditioner since Charlie Whittingham in 1971-72 to win consecutive renewals. Whittingham won with Turkish Trousers in 1971 and Pallisima in 1972.

“She went a big trip in the (Kentucky) Oaks,” Sadler said. “It was a big field, and she was running at the end, beaten two lengths.”

Owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, Zazu has won two of eight starts with seven in-the-money finishes and earnings of $382,985. The Tapit  filly was purchased for $285,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale in 2009. She ran second by a neck to Turbulent Descent in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) prior to the Kentucky Oaks.

Zazu, to partner again with Joel Rosario, would benefit from a swift pace. But it is difficult to envision any of the other three fillies in the race matching strides with Plum Pretty.

One that might is Big Tiz, runner-up to the Baffert-trained May Day Rose in Hollywood's seven-furlong Railbird Stakes (gr. III) May 21. Trained by Mark Glatt,  the Kentucky-bred daughter of Tiznow  ran second in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) to complete her 2-year-old campaign in December. The bay filly has been closing in on a stakes victory for owners Allen and Susan Branch and Cory Wagner, finishing second three races in a row. She is stakes-placed at Hollywood three times.

Big Tiz drilled five furlongs in a bullet :58 3/5 June 19. She has just one win in eight starts but has been worse than third only once. Patrick Valenzuela will again ride.

Love Theway Youare was a well-beaten fourth of five in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) May 20 at Pimlico. The daughter of Arch returns to the scene of her most recent win for owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho.

Wallstreeter returns to synthetic for owner-breeder Darley Stable and trainer Eoin Harty following four consecutive races on turf. The daughter of Street Cry is yet to hit the board in three races over synthetic surfaces.

$150,000 Hollywood Oaks (gr. II, Race 8, 4:35 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Love Theway Youare (KY), A Quinonez, 115, M K Cho
2. Wallstreeter (KY), D R Flores, 113, E G Harty
3. Plum Pretty (PA), M Garcia, 123, B Baffert
4. Zazu (KY), J Rosario, 119, J W Sadler
5. Big Tiz (KY), P A Valenzuela, 113, M Glatt