Sweet Catomine Stretches Out in Oak Leaf

Sweet Catomine, who broke her maiden with a come-from-behind win in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I), figures to be the horse to beat in Saturday's $200,000 Oak Leaf (gr. I) for 2-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park's Oak Tree meeting.

However, the Julio Canani-trained daughter of Storm Cat, making her third start, may face formidable competition from Splendid Blended. The 1 1/16-mile Oak Leaf is Sweet Catomine's first attempt around two turns.

The Florida-bred Splendid Blended, a daughter of Unbridled's Song, debuted for conditioner Neil Drysdale with a five-length victory over maidens going one mile in 1:37 at Del Mar Sept. 6. She went gate-to-wire in that effort and adds Lasix Saturday.

Both lightly raced fillies need strong efforts to earn a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). They figure to draw most of the support Saturday.

Also in the Oak Leaf field are Hello Lucky and Ninadivina, the third and fourth-place finishers at long odds in the Del Mar Debutante.

No Bull Baby, who gave way in the Debutante and finished eighth for trainer Bob Baffert, hopes to rebound in the Oak Leaf. Baffert also starts Seeking the Heat, a gray/roan daughter of Silver Charm who ran fourth as the choice in the Bustles & Bows at Fairplex Park Sept. 16.

Hello Lucky and No Bull Baby are likely to keep Splendid Blended company on the front end.

Expected to be a longshot Saturday is Irish-bred Fearless Flyer, who makes her American debut for trainer Ben Cecil after winning the Natalma (Can-III) on the grass at Woodbine Sept. 12. Besides Sweet Catomine, she is the only stakes winner in the nine-horse field.

Last year's Oak Leaf was captured by Halfbridled, who went on to be named champion 2-year-old filly of 2003.

$200,000 Oak Leaf Stakes, 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16-miles
PP. Horse, Jockey
Post Horse Name Age Sex Weight Jockey Name
1. Hello Lucky (FL), Mike E. Smith
2. Seeking the Heat (VA), Martin A. Pedroza
3. Splendid Blended (FL), Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Culture Clash (KY), Kerwin John
5. No Bull Baby (KY), Rene R. Douglas
6. Ninadivina (KY), Paul Atkinson
7. Memorette (CA), Tyler Baze
8. Fearless Flyer (IRE), David R. Flores
9. Sweet Catomine (KY), Corey S. Nakatani
All carry 119 pounds.