Chad B. Harmon

Tequilita Seeks Second Graded Win in Charles Town Oaks

Daughter of Union Rags won Forward Gal in seasonal bow.

An overflow field of 3-year-old fillies will take to the gate at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races Sept. 23 in a quest to take home the lion's share of the purse in the $300,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3).  

The role of morning-line favorite for the Charles Town Oaks falls to graded stakes winner Tequilita from the barn of trainer Michael Matz. After she earned the first graded stakes win of her career in the Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 4, Matz stretched Tequilita out to 1 1/16 miles in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), where she ran second to Salty. The daughter of Union Rags  then finished seventh in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) over a sloppy racing strip at Churchill Downs and was given a brief freshening before she returned to finish third in the Longines Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 5.

WINCZE HUGHES: Tequilita Makes Matz Proud in Forward Gal

Matz trained both Union Rags and Tequilita's dam, grade 2 winner Sangrita, and the filly is owned and was bred by his wife, Dorothy Alexander Matz.

"I trained her mother and her best distance was probably a mile, and obviously I think (Tequilita) can do that, but she has enough speed to get the job done at seven furlongs as well," said Michael Matz, who cross-entered Tequilita in the Dogwood Stakes at Churchill Downs Saturday. "But certainly when you train both the mother and the father it's special, and you can pick up on different characteristics they had and use that to your advantage."

WinStar Farm's Overture will also be looking for her second victory in a graded stakes this year after she took the Indiana Oaks (G3) in frontrunning fashion in July. Trained by Bill Mott, the daughter of Congrats  most recently set a quick pace in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) before she lost the lead and finished in third behind Teresa Z and Sine Wave.

WINCZE HUGHES: Overture Plays the Field in Indiana Oaks

While Overture's last four starts have seen her on the lead, she'll be cutting back to a sprint distance for the first time since her maiden-breaking score at Gulfstream April 5 and her trainer doesn't believe she needs to be squarely on the front end to be effective.
"The fact that she should have decent position in the race is important," Mott said. "It sounds like there should be plenty of speed in the race, so she doesn't have to have the lead, but we expect her to be forwardly placed."

Three C Stables, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Robert Masiello's Berned owns a graded stakes placing with a second-place finish behind Miss Sky Warrior in the Tempted Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack in November of her 2-year-old season. The Graham Motion trainee then went to the sideline following a poor showing in the Starlet Stakes (G1), before she emerged in an optional-claiming allowance at Monmouth Park in May that she won by 2 1/4 lengths over eventual Monmouth Oaks winner Teresa Z.

After she finished fourth behind Abel Tasman and Elate in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), Berned was switched to the turf for her last start—the $100,000 Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga—but could do no better than eighth. She not only returns to dirt in the Charles Town Oaks but the seven-furlong distance of the race appears within her wheelhouse, as Berned has a pair of wins and a pair of runner-up finishes when going a mile or shorter in her eight-race career.

"I'm very happy with how she's done," Motion said. "I've had a little bit of a hard time figuring out what she wants to do, but at this time we feel that it's best to shorten her up, and this spot was very appealing to us."

Entries: Charles Town Oaks (G3)

Hollywood Casino At Charles Town Races, Saturday, September 23, 2017, Race 12

  • Grade III
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 10:18 PM (local)
11Berned (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFeargal Lynch118H. Graham Motion8/1
22Astrollinthepark (KY)Alex Cintron118J. Larry Jones15/1
33Overture (FL)Jose L. Ortiz123William I. Mott5/1
44Stay Fond (KY)Javier Castellano118Todd A. Pletcher12/1
55Tequilita (KY)Luis Saez123Michael R. Matz7/2
66Chanel's Legacy (IA)Jose Montano120David A. Cannizzo12/1
77R Angel Katelyn (FL)Kendrick Carmouche118Gerald S. Bennett12/1
88Munny Spunt (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateDrayden Van Dyke123Doug F. O'Neill4/1
99Sine Wave (KY)Albin Jimenez118Benjamin W. Perkins, Jr.8/1
1010Downtown Mama (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez118Linda Rice6/1
1111Yorkiepoo Princess (FL)Edwin Gonzalez118Edward R. Barker15/1
1212Who's the Lady (FL)Jevian Toledo118Kathleen O'Connell12/1
1313Shimmering Aspen (KY)Steve D. Hamilton118Rodney Jenkins5/1
1414Stormy Embrace (FL)Wilmer A. Garcia118Kathleen O'Connell15/1