Galloping Gal Heads Inaugural Virginia Oaks

William Carl's multiple stakes-winning Galloping Gal headlines a cast of eight 3-year-old fillies for the inaugural running of the Virginia Oaks Saturday at Colonial Downs. The $200,000 race will be run at 1 1/8 miles over the Secretariat Turf Course.

The Virginia Oaks goes as race 7 on the 10-race card at Colonial Downs that features the $500,000 Virginia Derby (gr. IIIT) and $200,000 All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT).

Galloping Gal, a daughter of Victory Gallop out of the A.P. Indy mare Indy Flash, has won four of six lifetime on the turf, including wins in last year's Jessamine County Stakes at Keeneland and this year's Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Oaks day program. She has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Oaks.

Prior to her win in the Jessamine County, Galloping Gal ran second behind Be Gentle in the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) on the main track. In her last start, Galloping Gal was fourth in the Dogwood Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. She is trained by Ken McPeek. Bred in Kentucky by Jackie D. Huckabay MD, she was a $50,000 Keeneland September sale yearling.

On paper, her stiffest challenge figures to come from Tee N Jay Stable's Vous. The stakes-winning daughter of Wild Rush--Seattle Moon, by Seattle Dancer is coming off a third-place finish in the Sands Point Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park on June 13. Last year, the Timothy Hills-trained filly won the Hollywood Wildcat Stakes at Calder. She ran fourth behind Galloping Gal in the Edgewood on April 30.

Vous was bred in Florida by Adam Staple.

Another challenger is Art Fan, the only filly with a race over the course, having run third in her debut last July 12. She ran third, beaten three lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden event on the turf. She has placed in stakes in her last two efforts, running second in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico on May 8 and then finished third, beaten just three-quarters of a length, in the restricted Terpsichorist Stakes at Belmont on May 27.

Art Fan, a daugther of Lear Fan out of the Fit to Fight mare Knock Off, was bred in Kentucky by William Backer. She is trained by Hamilton Smith.

Lightly raced Minge Cove defeated Vous in the Via Borghese Stakes at Gulfsteam earlier this year. The Sandpit filly was most recently sixth in the Sands Point. Minge Cove has won two of four starts for trainer Allen Iwinski.

From Away will be making her turf debut in the Virginia Oaks. The Michael Matz trainee was a multiple stakes winner at two, but has yet to win this year. The daughter of Gulch was second in the $175,000 Susan's Girl Breeders' Cup in her most recent start.

Virginia Oaks, $200,000, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles, turf, Colonial Downs, Saturday, July 10, post time 3:48 p.m. EDT
PP, Horse, Jockey, ML
1, Galloping Gal, Edgar Prado, 5-2
2, Minge Cove, Mark Guidry, 9-2
3, Adventure, Oliver Castillo, 15-1
4, Art Fan, Ryan Fogelsonger, 5-1
5, Vous, Richard Migliore, 7-2
6, Le Grand Belle, Brice Blanc, 15-1
7, From Away, no rider, 8-1
8, Cuyahoga, no rider, 6-1