The $500,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) received a dash of glamor when trainer Larry Jones tossed grade I winner Proud Spell’s name into the entry box for the 1 1/16-mile race July 12 at Delaware Park.
In addition to Proud Spell, Jones also entered grade III winner Maren’s Meadow. Jockey Gabriel Saez is named on both fillies. Jones is permitted to change riders without being forced to scratch one half of the uncoupled entry.
Proud Spell was expected to pass on the Delaware Oaks after suffering a nightmarish trip in the Mother Goose (gr. I) June 28 at Belmont. In that race, Proud Spell, who finished second but was disqualified and placed third after bearing out into third-place finisher Never Retreat, stumbled coming out of the gate and exited the race with cuts to her coronet band.
Proud Spell has an impressive resume, in addition to winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), the small bay filly also has wins this year in the Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II). She finished second in the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) and was third in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I). Proud Spell has a career record of 5-2-2 from nine starts. She has earned $1,315,110.
Maren’s Meadow, who will carry 120 pounds, hasn’t started since finishing unplaced in the May 16 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) May 16 at Pimlico Race Course. Before that, the Sandra Rasmussen-owned daughter of Meadowlake out of the Yukon mare Gold Liaka won the Bourbonette Stakes (gr. III) at Turfway Park.
While the pair of fillies from Jones' barn are expected to draw the most attention, Shes All Eltish should not be overlooked. Trained by Marty Wolfson, the daughter of Eltishout of the Hesabull mare Shesabullwinkle, also has not raced since finishing second in the Black-Eyed Susan. Before that, she finished fourth in the Calder Oaks after winning the grade II Bonnie Miss Stakes.
Bred in Florida by Charlotte Webber’s Live Oak Stud, Shes All Eltish races for Denholtz Stables.
The field for the $500,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II):
1—Weathered (A. R. Napravnik, 120)
2—Maren’s Meadow (Gabriel Saez, 120)
3—African Violet (Cornelio Velasquez, 116)
4—French Kiss (Joe Johnson, 116)
5—Snowy Elegance (Harry Vega, 116)
6—Proud Spell (Gabriel Saez, 116)
7—Shes All Eltish (Eddie Castro, 120)
8—Cape Cod Lady (Pablo Morales, 116)