Grass Debut for Emollient in American Oaks
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 7/10/2013 5:41:56 PM
Last Updated: 7/13/2013 1:18:05 PM

Ashland winner Emollient makes her turf debut in the American Oaks.
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Photo: Mathea Kelley

Emollient, winner of the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) this spring, makes her turf debut against seven rival 3-year-old fillies in the $350,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) on closing weekend July 13 at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The 12th running of the Oaks at 1 1/4 miles on turf is one of four stakes on the Saturday card at Hollywood Park, which drops the curtain on its final spring/summer meet July 13. The Oaks is the ninth race with a scheduled post time of 5 p.m. PDT.

The other stakes on the program are the $200,000 A Gleam Handicap (gr. II), a seven-furlong sprint that is a "Win & You're In" challenge race for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I); the $150,000 Hollywood Juvenile Championship for 2-year-olds; and the $150,000 Landaluce Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Both juvenile stakes are contested at six furlongs.

Juddmonte Farms' homebred Emollient makes her first West Coast appearance for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. It is her first start since finishing sixth of seven as the 4-5 favorite in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. She stumbled at the start that day and then weakened in the stretch after chasing the leaders along the inside.

Prior to that, the daughter of Empire Maker tallied by nine lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland April 6. She led all the way on the Polytrack at Keeneland while ridden out by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who retains the mount. Mott opted to skip the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with his rising star.

The Ashland was the first stakes victory for Emollient, who also ran second in the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) last year at Aqueduct Racetrack after breaking her maiden at Belmont Park seven weeks earlier. She has three wins and two seconds from seven lifetime starts with earnings of $446,900.

Emollient worked twice over the inner turf at Belmont Park, including a 1:13.34 breeze for six furlongs June 30. Mott put the bay filly through a half-mile breeze in :49.73 on the dirt at Belmont July 7. She'll break from post 3 as the likely favorite.

Shipping in from Kentucky for this year's American Oaks is Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Pennsylvania homebred Emotional Kitten. The Kitten's Joy   offspring has registered back-to-back turf victories for trainer Wesley Ward, most recently winning Pimlico's 1 1/16-mile Hilltop Stakes by a nose over well-regarded Summer of Fun. Since breaking her maiden at the $75,000 claiming level at Gulfstream Park last December, Emotional Kitten has won three of four starts.

The chestnut filly has one prior start at Hollywood, trailing the field in the Cinderella Stakes over Cushion Track in June 2012. Victor Espinoza picks up the ride.

The Oaks field is filled out by the first four finishers in Hollywood's Honeymoon Handicap (gr. IIT) June 8; they were, in order, Sarach, Scarlet Strike, Macha, and Becky Lou.

Owned by breeders Alain and Gerard Wertheimer and trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Richard Mandella, Sarach led all the way at 8-1 for a one-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Honeymoon for her first stakes victory. The Arch   filly has won three of eight overall.

Scarlet Strike and Macha come from Jerry Hollendorfer's Hall of Fame barn.

Scarlet Strike, the 4-5 choice in the Honeymoon, rallied gamely from last while four wide but came up short. She was also second as the odds-on pick in Hollywood's Senorita Stakes (gr. IIIT) a month earlier. Owned by a partnership that includes Hollendorfer, John Carver, and Green Smith, the daughter of Smart Strike   has just two wins but has not been worse than third in a dozen lifetime starts.

Macha stalked Sarach throughout the Honeymoon but could not close the deal while finishing 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner in her graded stakes debut. The Majestic Warrior   lass was a sharp allowance winner for Hollendorfer and Smith prior to the Honeymoon.

Rafael Bejarano remains aboard Scarlet Strike while Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens takes over on Macha.

Becky Lou, trained by Matt Chew for owner Daniel O'Neill, also closed well in the Honeymoon, rallying from seventh after being bumped in the stretch to lose by two lengths. The daughter of Johannesburg began her career in England, winning one of five starts there before taking her United States debut in allowance company by a nose April 18 at Santa Anita Park.

Completing the field are Wittgenstein, seventh in the Honeymoon, and Topic, an impressive 2 1/4-length maiden winner going 1 3/16 miles June 13 for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.

$350,000 American Oaks (gr. IT, Race 9, 5 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Sarach (KY), M Garcia, R E Mandella
2. Macha (NY), G L Stevens, J Hollendorfer
3. Emollient (KY), M E Smith, W I Mott
4. Emotional Kitten (PA), V Espinoza, W A Ward
5. Scarlet Strike (KY), R Bejarano, J Hollendorfer
6. Becky Lou (KY), J Talamo, M Chew
7. Wittgenstein (IRE), M Gutierrez, D F O'Neill
8. Topic (KY), G K Gomez, N D Drysdale
All assigned 121 pounds.



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