Diplomat Lady turns in 5f Monday morning breeze leading up to Friday's running of the Kentucky Oaks.

Diplomat Lady turns in 5f Monday morning breeze leading up to Friday's running of the Kentucky Oaks.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Diplomat Lady Breezes Toward Oaks; Press Camp Out and Red Cherries Spin In

Diplomat Lady completed her training for the May 5 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with a five-furlong breeze in :51.20 over the Churchill Downs surface Monday morning.

Exercise rider Alfredo Garcia was aboard the Chris Paasch-trained filly for the move.

Jockey Alex Solis has the mount for the 1 1/8-mile Oaks.

Bonnie Paasch, wife of trainer Chris Paasch, was on hand to supervise the drill.

"I would prefer to see her go in :49 and change," Bonnie Paasch said. "But the track was deep and cut up that I told Alex to take care of her. She looked like she went smoothly al the way and came back fine, not blowing a bit."

Owned by Charles Cono, Diplomat Lady became a grade I winner last December when she took the Hollywood Starlet for her first win around two turns. The win also gave the owner and trainer their first grade I scores.
The daughter of Forestry began the year with a fifth-place effort in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) and finished fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I). Most recently she scored a front-running 2 1/4-length win in the Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. II).

Diplomat Lady has a career record of four wins from eight starts. She has earned $460,600.

Bred in Kentucky by Mike Rutherford, Diplomat Lady was produced from the multiple stakes-winning Saratoga Six mare Playcaller.

The dark bay/brown filly was originally purchased for $120,000 by John Kimmel, agent for Drew Raymond at the 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale from the consignment of Eaton Sales, agent. Paasch purchased the filly for $400,000 at the 2005 Fasig-Tipton Florida 2-year-olds in training sale from the consignment of Hoby and Layna Kight.

In other Oaks-related news:

Press Camp has been declared out of the Oaks. Trainer Billy Morey said, "The filly has not been right the last two days and she has got to be 100%," he said. "I think she will be fine, but the timing is bad. If the race were next week, we might be all right."

The Comic Strip filly is owned by the partnership of Peters Stables, Rancho San Miguel, and Matthew Schaver.

"I had a knot in my stomach when I called the owners. It's a tough game," Morey said. "I had been cautiously optimistic since her work Thursday (a mile in 1:44.60), but starting Sunday afternoon, I got worried and just don't want to take a chance where running might really knock her out for a while."

The defection of Press Camp opened the door for the Bernie Flint-trained Red Cherries Spin. Owned by Naveed Chowhan, the daughter of With Approval was claimed out of a race at Keeneland April 15.

The filly is not nominated to the Oaks, so Chowhan will have to pay a fee of $25,000 to make her a supplemental entry to the $500,000-added race.

Corey Nakatani has the mount.

Red Cherries Spin has won three of her four career races, but two of those wins came in claiming races and the filly has never raced beyond six furlongs.

"I think she's bred to go long," the veteran trainer said. "That's why we took her, because I think she can get the distance. I know damn good and well it's going to be a tough race-- it's never going to be an easy race at that distance."

Flint is also encouraged by the performances of former claiming horses in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and other big races as reason for optimism as Red Cherries Spin prepares to make her stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks.

"A lot of these horses that are running in the Derby and other places-- Lawyer Ron in the Derby, Charismatic in the Derby, and Brass Hat in the Dubai World Cup-- have all run for a tag," he said. "A lot of good horses have it before and she's never tried going long, so maybe we can get it out of her. We've won 3,000 races, so maybe I can get one more."

Red Cherries Spin galloped two miles over a muddy Churchill Downs oval Monday. Exercise rider Georgia Jackson was in the saddle.