Trainer Barry Abrams is happily soaking up his first Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) experience as his filly, Golden Doc A, prepares to take the gate for the $500,000 race going 1 1/8 miles May 2 at Churchill Downs.
“I don’t get nervous anymore,” Abrams said outside his barn at the Louisville oval the morning before the Oaks. “It’s just exciting. When you see a lot of people and it is a big event, you just get excited. I’m just excited to be here. I hope she shows what she can do. As good of a filly as I think she is, I just hope she shows it tomorrow.”
Golden Doc A will break from post 1 and will have the services of jockey Kent Desormeaux. The pair is listed at 12-1 on the morning line.
Abrams schooled Golden Doc A in the paddock before and during the afternoon’s fourth race, and the filly seemed to thrive on the attention, happily posing for photos while her trainer showered her with attention.
The Oaks will be Golden Doc A’s first start on a traditional dirt surface, but Abrams is confident his filly will take to the change. “She is a good horse and good horses can run on anything,” he said. “So far she hasn’t shown me any reason that she does not like the dirt.”
A California-bred daughter of Unusual Heat, Golden Doc A, who was produced from the Crested Wave mare Penpont, has an impressive resume. She enters the Oaks with a record of 3-4-1 from 12 starts and has earned $455,356. Most recently, she finished second, beaten one length, in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II) over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Before leaving her native California, Golden Doc A finished second in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and won the Las Virgenes (gr. I). She began her year by finishing second in the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) . All three races were over the synthetic surface at Santa Anita.
Abrams has a special attachment to Golden Doc A. Not only is he the trainer, but he co-owns the filly and his brother, David, is the breeder. “In so many ways this is ‘our’ filly,” said Abrams. “We bred her, raised her, we raced her, we own her dam, her brothers and her sisters, and we are in on the stallion, too.”
On the recommendation of bloodstock agent Eugenio Columbo, Lexington car dealer Ron McCauley privately purchased half interest in the filly from Abrams after she finished second to 2-year-old filly champion Indian Blessing in the Santa Ynez. In her first start for McCauley, Golden Doc A won the Las Virgenes.
“She’s got a lot of talent and we are very pleased. We just have to pinch ourselves everyday because we are new to the business and we own a horse like Golden Doc A,” said McCauley, who owns a farm in Jessamine County. He is partners with Abrams in two other horses on the racetrack and has nine broodmares and six weanlings.