Also entered for the 1 1/8-mile event are Live Oak Plantation’s Namaste’s Wish, and Carolyn Friedburg and Majestic Farms’ Three Graces – the only other contenders who have recorded stakes wins. The Virginia Oaks immediately proceeds the featured $750,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT). Both races will be shown live on CBS with coverage beginning at 5 p.m. EDT.
Since finishing off the board in her racing debut last November, I Lost My Choo has been fantastic. The daughter of Western Expression--Fairy Queen, by Tom Rolfe has finished in the money in all six starts as a 3-year-old, winning four of those. One of the victories came in her most recent effort, the June 28 Elmont Stakes, a restricted event for New York breds at Belmont Park. The bay filly came from well off the pace to get up by a head under Edgar Prado in that one-mile contest.
I Lost My Choo finished third in both of her graded stakes tries. She was only a head back in a three-way photo during the April 16 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland, and six weeks later was beaten 4 1/4 lengths in the Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIT), but was only a nose away from finishing second.
Trained by Philip Serpe, I Lost My Choo has been working well on the Belmont turf, recording a pair of bullet breezes over the last three weeks. She will break from post 10 under Prado and was installed as the 9-5 favorite.
The 3-1 second choice, Namaste’s Wish won the Miss Grillo Stakes last fall on the Belmont grass and was then sent to the Epitome Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Monmouth Park where she finished fifth on the yielding turf. This year, the Pulpit filly was off the board in two graded stakes efforts, but was second in the Gaviola Stakes May 8 at Belmont. A $600,000 purchase as a yearling, Namaste’s Wish is 2-1-0 from eight starts. Kent Desormeaux will get the mount for trainer Bill Mott, who won this event in 2005 with Live Oak’s My Typhoon.
Three Graces made the first six starts of her career on Polytrack or dirt with only a maiden victory to show for it, but since trainer Richard Scherer moved the Doneraile Court filly to the grass she has won two of three. She won her turf debut April 17 at Hawthorne in allowance company and most recently, took the June 21 Northbound Pride Stakes at Canterbury Park by a length and half after stalking the pace. Robby Albarado get the call for the first time.
Cherokee Queen, Julia Tuttle and Born to Be – all entering off allowance scores – also deserve some consideration.
Trained by Graham Motion, Cherokee Queen has won two of three career starts, including a nine-furlong race on the Belmont turf June 18. Local hope Julia Tuttle broke her maiden by more than 10 lengths June 11 at Colonial and followed that up with a resounding allowance victory three weeks ago in Virginia. Michael Matz trainee Born to Be was third in the grade III Mazarine Breeders’ Cup Stakes at Woodbine last year and enters off a score at Delaware Park.