Serenade Rose Takes Victoria Oaks

Serenade Rose easily won the $775,000 (Australian funds) Victoria Oaks (Aust-I) Nov. 3 to provide the Ashford-rostered Stravinsky with his most important southern success.

The Oaks winner continued the sweep of main events at each of the past four major racing days. It started with Makybe Diva's stunning Cox Plate (Aust-I) win Oct. 22, a week after the stable lost Mummify after the Caulfield Cup (Aust-I).

The Freedman-trained More Than Ready  son Benicio won the Victoria Derby (Aust-I) Oct. 29, the opening day of the Flemington meeting. Makybe Diva then stunningly added her third straight Melbourne Cup (Aust-I) on day two.

Serenade Rose won the Wakeful Oaks (Aust-II) on Derby day and was untroubled to become the 10th filly to add the Oaks in the past 21 years. She has amassed $853,000 in winning five of her nine starts.

To win his third Oaks, Stephen King slotted the 3-year-old fourth, two from the rail and trailing her main rival Astronomia (by King's Best). King bided his time and swept Serenade Rose into the lead nearing the 200-meter pole.

The 6-4 favorite raced clear to win by 2 3/4 lengths from Danehill filly Florica Danica (13-1). Empress Lily (13-2) arrived late to grab third, another half-length away. Empress Lily had a torrid run, Kerrin McEvoy only able to get the winner's stablemate into the clear when the race was over.

The lack of speed in the middle stages was also against her. Gross for the 2,500 meters was 2:36.22 just over 1.5 second from Bonnybel's long-standing race record.

Lily finished strongly and must wait until the Australian Oaks (Aust-I) in the fall for her revenge. Raced by Katsumi Yoshida, this Empress is by Zabeel from Tycoon Lil, a multiple group I winner by Last Tycoon.

The previous Victoria Derby and Oaks double collected by one barn was 70 years ago by Lou Robertson. The Classic double has not been combined with Melbourne Cup success previously.

Serenade Rose is from the second New Zealand crop of Stravinsky, a commuter to the Cambridge Stud of Zabeel since 2000. His other major winners include dual New Zealand group I winner Keeninsky and multiple group II winner Ballet Society.

Serenade Rose is the second foal of Rose of Tralee, an Australian-foaled daughter of Sadler's Wells.

The 145th Flemington Oaks winner was bred by the Best Western Group. Offered by Brooklyn Lodge, she was harvested by Irish agent Adrian Nicoll at the 2004 Australian Easter Yearling Sale. The price was $400,000.

Her year-younger Fusaichi Pegasus half-sister went through the same Inglis sale in March and was garnered by Graeme Rogerson for $185,000.

Rose of Tralee won four minor races and is a daughter of Circus Ring, one of the top juvenile fillies of her generation in England.

A Serenade Rose part owner is Keith Biggs, the senior owner of Doreimus, the 1995 Melbourne Cup winner for the Freedman crew. Doreimus came within a lip of adding another two years later.