Pletcher's Oaks Contenders 'Blossom, Octave Work

(from Churchill Downs notes)
With Friday’s 133rd edition of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) coming up quickly, a pair of 3-year-old lassies out of the Todd Pletcher barn did some serious leg stretching Saturday morning at Keeneland on a cloudy and crisp morning.

Cotton Blossom, a tall and dark daughter of Broken Vow  , and Octave, a sturdy gray by Unbridled’s Song, both turned in five-panel drills on the Polytrack strip that pleased their trainer.

Cotton Blossom, with exercise rider Valerie Buck attached, came out with the trainer’s 7:30 set and teamed up with the colt Twilight Meteor for the work. After backtracking, the twosome jogged around the clubhouse turn and leveled off past the six-furlong marker to go by the five-eighths in full stride. Cotton Blossom was outside her male rival and right at his flank for the first quarter mile of the drill, but then she upped the tempo. The filly put distance between herself and her 3-year-old stablemate coming out of the turn, finishing with a final clocking of 1:00 and about three lengths on her partner. It was the 13th-fastest of 33 works at the distance. The track’s clockers caught her going out the six furlongs in 1:13.

“She worked really well,” Pletcher noted. “Her workmate didn’t help her much. She did it all on her own.”

Cotton Blossom will have Edgar Prado aboard when she goes postward in the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks.

Octave was next up on deck for the Pletcher crew and she went trackside with exercise rider Pierre Goday up in the stable’s 8:15 set. Octave, down on the inside, teamed up with Mini Sermon, a recent maiden winner at Keeneland. The pair broke off at the five-eighths and went together for most of the drill, with “Mini” edging out on her rival through the lane. Octave rallied near the wire to make it tight at the wire.

The clockers gave Octave a final time of :59 1/5 with an “out” clocking of 1:11 3/5.  The move was the sixth-fastest of 33 at the distance.

“I thought it was a good work for her,” Pletcher said.

The stretch-running Octave will be handled by John Velazquez in the Oaks.

Earlier in the morning, the likely Kentucky Oaks favorite Rags to Riches took her exercise with the stable’s first set at 6 a.m., galloping 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Loren Robson. The A.P. Indy filly will put in her final major preparations with a drill Sunday morning at Keeneland.

Garrett Gomez rides Rags to Riches.

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