Wildwood Royal Sets Iowa Oaks Stakes Mark

(from Prairie Meadows report)
Iowa Oaks winning filly Wildwood Royal set off some fireworks of her own during Friday's July 4th celebration at Prairie Meadows.

The 3-year-old daughter of Royal Academy out of the Woodman mare, Silk Masque, trained by Jimmy Zook, sailed to her fifth career victory, notching her second stakes record of the year in as many outings in 1:41.64 for the 1 1/16-mile mile event.

Tulupai went to the front with rider Cindy Noll. Wildwood Royal and rider Danush Sukie raced second until the midway point around the final turn, thereafter increasing their lead by as many as three lengths entering the stretch. The Donnie Von Hemel trainee Golden Reputashn, finished with a strong late kick to run second by three parts of a length. Tulupai backed up to third.

Ruby's Reception, the 8-5 second choice in the field of eight, passed tiring rivals to get up in fourth position. The 11-10 favorite Golden Marlin finished seventh after racing wide for substitute rider Alex Birzer, replacing Shane Sellers, who was unable to make it in time for the race.

The winner's share was $75,000 of the Iowa Oaks purse worth a total of $125,000 and more than doubled Wildwood Royal's previous earnings of $73,400.

"It tickles me that it's the second stakes record she's set here," said Zook. "She set the Panthers Stakes record and this one. At Keeneland when I had her there, just pricking her ears and floating along, I thought, 'We've got a stakes horse here.' Then she hit a lull. We got busy and got her [breathing] problem taken care of. I took the tongue-tie off her and that helped. I think it was just confusing her.

"The nice thing is we bred 12 mares to Wildwood Royal's daddy, Royal Academy," said Zook. "Hopefully, it will pan out for us."

Zook notes the filly seems to take equally well to a dirt track or a turf course. "She's very versatile. She won a sprint handicap – ran the fastest time in two years at Fairmount Park [Illinois]. She's doing it all."

"(Tulupai) was the speed horse in the race and I knew (Noll) was going to try to get to the lead," reported jockey Danush Sukie in the winner's circle following the race. "I just lay off her to the half-mile pole until I got my filly going. At the middle of the far turn, Cindy's horse started backing off. My filly kicked it into gear and took off. She's a nice filly. She was feeling great going into the race. Even in the post parade you could see her. The last time she ran here, she was awesome. She's even better as she rolls along."

Wildwood Royal paid $17.40, $7 and $4.80 as the third choice. Golden Reputashn returned $8.80 and $5.20. Tulupai's show price was $5.60.

(Chart, Equibase)