(Edited press release)
IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Michael Dubb, and Golden Goose Enterprises’ Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008 and winner of the Las Virgenes (gr. I) at Santa Anita in her 2009 debut, heads a roster of 170 horses nominated to compete in the 135th running of the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), which will be run at Churchill Downs May 1.
The 170 fillies nominated to this year's Oaks is up from last year’s nomination total of 165, but down from the record 192 nominations received in 2007.
Nominations to the Oaks closed Feb. 14 and required a nomination fee of $100. Supplemental nominations to the race will be accepted at the time of entry April 28 for a fee of $25,000. The field for the Oaks is restricted to 14 fillies. If a greater number of fillies should be entered, preference will be given to the fillies that have accumulated the highest earnings in graded stakes races.
Other recent stars who won the Kentucky Oaks on their way to 3-year-old championship honors include Ashado (2004), Bird Town (’03), Farda Amiga (’02), Silverbulletday (’99), Open Mind (’89), and Tiffany Lass (’86). Fillies that failed to win the Oaks but went on to earn Eclipse Award championship honors at the conclusion of their 3-year-old seasons include Wait A While (3rd in 2006), Banshee Breeze (2nd in ’98), and Go for Wand (2nd in 1990).
Stardom Bound, a gray Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit , could provide Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel with his third win in the Oaks. Stardom Bound finished second in the first two starts of her career last summer at Del Mar, but notched her first victory in an impressive 4 1/4-length romp in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I), the first of an ongoing string of four consecutive grade I victories. She has earned $1,600,600 and is also nominated to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Triple Crown.
A victory in the Oaks by Stardom Bound would make her only the third filly since the Eclipse Awards were established in 1971 to follow her championship season at 2 with a score in that race. Open Mind and Silverbulletday, both 2009 finalists for induction into racing’s Hall of Fame, are the only fillies to have achieved the rare double.
Other major stakes winners nominated to the 135th Kentucky Oaks include L & M Parnters’ Rachel Alexandra, winner of the Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs; Winchell Thoroughbreds’ War Echo, winner of the Silverbulletday (gr. III) at Fair Grounds; Livin the Dream Racing’s Dream Empress, winner of Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades (gr. I); Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds’ Evita Argentina, who defeated males in the recent San Vicente (gr. II) at Santa Anita Park; IEAH Stables, Gary Tolchin, and Pegasus Holding Group Stables’ Laragh, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I); Frizette winner Sky Diva; Forward Gal (gr. II) winner Frolic's Dream; and Delta Princess (gr. III) winner Four Gifts.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher nominated 12 fillies as he bids for his third victory in the race. Pletcher won the Oaks in 2004 with Ashado and in 2007 with Rags to Riches.