Two days after Miss Sky Warrior put in her last serious move for the May 5 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), her breeder/owner and trainer are sitting on ready.
Al and Arlene London's First Samurai filly worked a half-mile at Churchill Downs in :49 1/5 April 27 in preparation for the nine-furlong Oaks. She also brings a five-race win streak to the $1 million race.
"We're ready to run," said Monmouth Park-based trainer Kelly Breen. "Everything seems pretty good. I think my horse is pretty well proven and I'm just trying to get her back to producing what she did last time out. She has won at this distance and she's training good, and eating good, and we're feeling pretty good for where we need to be."
Miss Sky Warrior advanced toward the top of the filly ranks with her half-length score in Gulfstream Park's March 4 Davona Dale Stakes (G2). She continued up the ladder with a monster 13-length win at the Oaks trip in the April 8 Gazelle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. She figures to be one of the favorites along with Paradise Woods and Farrell.
Miss Sky Warrior is out of the London's Sky Minister, by Conquistador Cielo. She was foaled and raised at the Greathouse family's Glencrest Farm near Midway, Ky.
London will travel to Louisville later in the week along with his wife and 5-year-old grandson, Matthew. The owner, who speaks with Breen every day, can't wait to get to the backstretch and Barn 43 to see how they're doing.
"You can feel how excited he is," London said of Breen. "He's happy with her and how she's coming along.
"It's a marriage made in heaven," London said of Breen and Miss Sky Warrior. "He loves her and she really responds to him. Most trainers will tell you they 'train the individual' and I'll see them do the same things over and over. He spends time with them and tries to understand them. He understands what he is doing.
"I don't micro-manage, but I do like to know what is going on," London said. "Kelly tells me what he's thinking and he asks me what I'm thinking. Most trainers don't care what you think. He has patience with my questions and he actually bounces things off me to see how I'll react. He's in charge, 100%, but he does share his thoughts...and doubts."
Among the doubts, of course, are the draw May 2, and how the horse will react to the Derby/Oaks week buzz on the backstretch.
"After we see what we get, and everybody else gets, then we'll come up with a game plan," Breen said of his filly who has won on the lead or just off the pace. It's hard to handicap until we get the post position draw. I don't think anybody can say they are used to the surroundings with the track itself ... they are putting up buildings and tents in the infield. Every day is a different situation."
London is getting his best game face ready.
"We're on the cusp; we're one of the choices," London said. "Do we have the ability to beat 13 horses? I hope so. We're not going (to Louisville) to be social, or place ... we're going to win. We want to win; we hope to win; but we don't expect to win."