Rugula Works, Trainer Leans Toward Oaks

By Kathleen Adams
Canadian trainer Grant Forster admitted track conditions at Churchill Downs Friday morning were less than ideal after overnight rain showers, but that didn't stop him from working out probable Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) contender Rugula.

With jockey Greta Kuntzweiler in the irons, the daughter of Bernstein breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:00 3/5.

"She needed to work today or tomorrow and it doesn't look as though conditions will be improving," Forster said of his decision to send the not quite 3-year-old filly to the race track. "You've got to rely on your horse and jockey at this point."

Al and Saundra Kirkwood own Rugula, who broke her maiden at Arlington Park last June in debut. The couple privately purchased the horse at the beginning of the year.

Forster said his filly ran "great over this track," and that he'll recommend the Kirkwood's start her in the Oaks.

"We were looking for a very good work this morning," he said. "And the race is coming up a little light. The big standout is Sis City. The rest of the field is fillies like ours who have been running second or third."

Kuntzweiler, who has ridden Rugula in her last three starts, will maintain the mount should she run in the Oaks Forster said.

Based at Emerald Downs, Forster, 30, is the son of Vancouver British Columbia Racing Hall of Fame trainer Dave Forster.