Lady of Shamrock gains revenge in American Oaks
Reserved toward the rear early, Lady of Shamrock found herself several lengths off the slow pace set by English shipper Nayarra through splits of :25 1/5, :50 2/5 and 1:15 3/5 on the firm turf. Fellow Brit Miss Cato stalked enthusiastically, while Best Present Ever tracked on the inside, and Colonial Flag crept up to take closer order on the outside.
When Nayarra drifted out rounding the far turn, Best Present Ever seized the opportunity, and dove through to take the lead at the mile mark in 1:39 4/5. The English fillies began to tread water, as did Colonial Flag, but Lady of Shamrock was gaining ominously in the slipstream of the new leader.
Straightening up for the drive, Lady of Shamrock took advantage of a narrow gap left by Best Present Ever, and barreled through with authority. The Scat Daddy filly drew off to complete 1 1/4 miles in 2:03 and rewarded her loyalists with payouts of $5, $3 and $2.20.
"She was a victim of a slow pace last time," said Smith, who did not ride her in the Honeymoon, "and today it worked out real great where there was a little more pace and I was able to stay in the pocket the whole way and take advantage of it. (Nayarra) didn't corner too well, and that really helped us out because it open the race up and I was able to get up in there and on through.
"I know what she is capable of, but she was a little on her toes warming up and I was a little bit concerned she might be a little bit aggressive today, but honestly she turned off really well once the gates opened and after that got into a great rhythm."
"I thought at a mile and one-quarter she'd eventually get a lane or a seam," Sadler said. "I'm glad (Smith) didn't alter the strategy even though it was a paceless race. We still like to let her settle and she's doing really well that way. In turf racing you need to catch a break, you need to find a lane, and she did. She has a real good turn of foot."
My Gi Gi, who had gotten first run on Lady of Shamrock in the Honeymoon, found herself trying to play catch-up on Saturday. She struck top gear too late to trouble the winner, but rolled past Best Present Ever by 1 1/2 lengths for second.
"She ran huge," My Gi Gi's trainer Peter Eurton said. "The tables were switched today. She (Lady of Shamrock) got an unbelievable trip and saved ground. She got first run on us. It's all about who can relax and who can quicken. That's a remarkable filly who beat us today."
"She ran great," jockey Joe Talamo said of My Gi Gi. "I was surprised that other filly (Lady of Shamrock) got through on the rail -- that was a real tight spot. My filly gave it a roll and I was very proud of her."
Miss Cato tired to fourth, trailed by Stormy Lucy, Left a Message, Nayarra and Colonial Flag.
Lady of Shamrock's fourth career stakes win advanced her scorecard to 9-5-1-1, $465,400. Conditioned at two by Ronny Werner, she broke her maiden in her third try on the turf last November at Churchill Downs, and was later purchased privately and transferred to Sadler. Lady of Shamrock made a big impression in her Southern California debut when inhaling the field in the December 30 Blue Norther Stakes.
An early nominee to the Triple Crown, Lady of Shamrock auditioned on dirt in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes January 28, but didn't appear to enjoy the surface switch and checked in a distant third. She regained the winning thread back on turf, taking the March 10 China Doll and the Grade 3 Providencia on April 7, before her near-miss at odds of 1-2 in the Honeymoon.
The Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks on August 18 figures to be the rubber match between Lady of Shamrock and My Gi Gi.
"We'll probably run her in the Del Mar Oaks," Sadler said.
"I can't wait for a rematch in the Del Mar Oaks," Eurton said.
Bred in Kentucky by Grovendale Sales, Lady of Shamrock RNA'd for $35,000 as a Keeneland November weanling. She sold for $80,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling, but brought only $11,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic the following May as a two-year-old in training. Produced by the Blushing John mare Blushing Issue, she's a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Smooth Jazz and the multiple stakes-winning She's Sensational. This is the family of Grade 1 winner Royal Chariot and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile upsetter Dakota Phone.
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