Valenzuela was the regular pilot for J.Paul Reddam's grade I winner Elloluv, but gave up the mount on the Craig Dollase trainee for the April 5 Ashland Stakes (gr. I) to ride Kentucky Derby (gr. I) candidate Kafwain in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) on the same day. Elloluv won the Ashland by 3 ¾ lengths with Robby Albarado aboard while Kafwain was third, beaten 2 ½ lengths, under Valenzuela in the Santa Anita Derby.
"Pat really wanted to ride Kafwain," Cosato said. "He also knew that it meant there was a good chance he wouldn't ride Elloluv in the Kentucky Oaks if he gave up the mount in the Ashland. So (Dollase) has elected to keep Albarado on Elloluv. She's definitely the one to beat in the Oaks, but the filly we ride is very nice and should be tough."
Island Fashion, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Petionville, has won one of three starts, with one third, for earnings of $167,970. In her only other stakes attempt she was fourth behind stablemate Harbor Blues in the Feb. 1 Arizona Oaks at Turf Paradise.
Elloluv, who is by Gilded Time, has won four of her seven career races, with two seconds and one third, for earnings of $774,785. In addition to the Ashland, she also won last year's Hollywood Starlet (gr. I), this year's Santa Ynez (gr. II) and was second in the Las Virgenes (gr. I) and Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Among the others expected for the Kentucky Oaks are Atlantic Ocean, Lady Tak, My Boston Gal, Island Fashion and Ivanavinalot.