Caressing Tops Indiana Oaks at Hoosier

By James Platz

Caressing, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly for 2000, will start from the inside post in Friday's $200,000 Indiana Breeders' Cup Oaks at 1 1/16 miles at Hoosier Park. She will be joined by eight other 3-year-old fillies in the race, a grade III event, and Hoosier Park's only graded stakes.

For the second consecutive year, Hoosier Park has attracted the winner of the $1-million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. (Cash Run competed in the Oaks last year). Caressing has won the $100,000 La Troienne Stakes and $125,000 Singapore Plate, both grade III events, this year. In her last start for trainer David Vance and owner Carl Pollard, the Honour and Glory filly finished sixth in the $250,000 Gazelle Stakes. Rene Douglas is scheduled to ride.

Curious Conundrum and Scoop, who finished fifth and sixth in the $150,000 Pucker Up Stakes Sept. 15 at Arlington Park, are entered in the Oaks. Curious Conundrum will start from the second post for three-time Hoosier Park leading rider Jon Court, while Scoop will start from post four with Robby Albarado in the irons. Katy Kat, who hasn't raced since her win for trainer Niall O'Callaghan in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks, will start from the far outside and will be ridden by Larry Melancon.

Rounding out the field will be Barney's Mistress, with Terry Thompson; Irish Fantasy, Justin Vitek; Red n'Gold, Joe Judice' Southern Fiction, Mark Guidry; and Gold Huntress, Shane Laviolette.