R Heat Lightning, a dominant winner last time out and one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), is the horse to beat in the $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II) April 2.
A field of seven was drawn for the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Oaks, which will be the final stop for E. Paul Robsham Stables’ homebred on her way to the May 6 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. Post time is set for 6:11 p.m. EDT.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, R Heat Lightning enters off a 7 1/4-length romp in the Feb. 26 Davona Dale (gr. II) when easily defeating favored Dancinginherdreams, who did not enter the Gulfstream Oaks. R Heat Lightning was an accomplished 2-year-old last year when winning the Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga and finishing runner-up in the Frizette (gr. I) and Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The daughter of Trippi—Yellow Heat, by Gold Fever, had a poor start and wide trip in the seven-furlong Forward Gal (gr. II) when fourth in her season debut.
John Velazquez will keep the mount on R Heat Lightning, who will carry top weight of 122 pounds. She worked a bullet four furlongs in :47 3/5 on March 27, the best of 60 that morning.
Darley Stable’s It's Tricky figures to be the main competition for R Heat Lightning. Undefeated in three starts—all at Aqueduct—It’s Tricky makes her graded stakes debut for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. The daughter of Mineshaft broke her maiden in November, scored an optional claimer by more than four lengths in her season debut in January, and romped by eight lengths as an odds-on favorite in the Feb. 20 Busher Stakes.
It’s Tricky has had three works at Palm Meadows in South Florida in preparation for the Gulfstream Oaks. With Alan Garcia aboard, she will break from the outside post.
Salary Drive and Beso Grande each come off of allowance wins at Gulfstream, while Triune makes her dirt debut for Jimmy Jerkens after finishing fourth in the March 13 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT). Kindersley was a 4 1/4-length maiden winner Feb. 16 for Michael Matz when going wire-to-wire. Island School rounds out the field.
$300,000 Gulfstream Oaks (gr. II, Race 11, 6:11 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Salary Drive (KY), E Trujillo, 116, E Plesa Jr.
2. Triune (KY), P Lopez, 116, J A Jerkens
3. Kindersley (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, M R Matz
4. Beso Grande (FL), J Lezcano, 116, S L DiMauro
5. R Heat Lightning (FL), J R Velazquez, 122, T A Pletcher
6. Island School (KY), A O Solis, 116, C R McGaughey III
7. It's Tricky (KY), A Garcia, 118, K P McLaughlin