Unlimited Budget heads FG Oaks weekend workers
|Unlimited Budget readied for the FG Oaks with a half-mile move on Sunday
(Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography)
Four of the last eight Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks winners have gone on to win
the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and Saturday's 45th renewal of the feminine equivalent of
the Louisiana Derby once again promises that kind of quality.
A star-studded cast is waiting in the wings of the 1 1/16-mile contest,
headed by unbeaten Unlimited Budget, who closed out her juvenile campaign with a
1 1/4-length win in Aqueduct's Grade 2 Demoiselle.
The Street Sense filly is sure to be the local Oaks
favorite based on her 3 3/4-length score in Fair Grounds' Grade 3 Rachel
Alexandra in her debut as a sophomore on February 23. The Todd Pletcher trainee
recorded her third work on Sunday since that race when breezing a half-mile in
:51 3/5 on the fast dirt at Palm Meadows Training Center.
Stakes heroine Promise Me More, trained by locally-based Wes Hawley, was
second behind Unlimited Budget in the Rachel Alexandra and is set to try again
Saturday. The More Than Ready filly covered four furlongs Saturday on Fair
Grounds' fast main track in :50.
Blue Violet will do her best to turn the tables on the former pair in the
Fair Grounds Oaks after finishing third in the Rachel Alexandra for trainer
Larry Jones, who won last year's edition of the race as well as the Kentucky
Oaks with Believe You Can.
Expected to join that trio in the starting gate is So Many Ways, a Tony Dutrow trainee who
captured Saratoga's Grade
3 Schuylerville and Grade 1 Spinaway last summer and was the victim of a poor
start in her only start as a sophomore, the Primal Force at Gulfstream Park
earlier this month. The bay daughter of Sightseeing, who clocked a bullet four
panels at Palm Meadows Sunday in :47, will try to make amends for
that defeat on Saturday.
As of Sunday, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was also considering sending
Flashy Gray to the Fair Grounds Oaks following her runner-up effort in Oaklawn's Grade
3 Honeybee three weeks ago on March 9. The Flashy Bull gray sped four
furlongs in :47 2/5 to get the bullet at Payson Park on Saturday.
Sittin at the Bar, fifth in the Honeybee, is still under consideration for
the race by trainer Brett Brinkman and also worked a half-mile Saturday, posting
a time of :49 1/5 at the Evangeline Training Center. The Into Mischief filly racked up a pair of
state-bred stakes wins at Fair Grounds in a similar turnaround in December.
Ante Up Annie, winner of the Sarah Lane's Oates
at Fair Grounds and second in Delta Down's Azalea at last asking on March 7, is
expected to return to the New Orleans venue for her second start this month. She
was caught going four furlongs in :49 2/5 at the track on Friday.
Making her seasonal bow in the Fair Grounds Oaks will be the Bernie
Flint-trained Seaneen Girl, who was triumphant in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill
in her final start as a juvenile last fall. The Spring at Last miss was making
her main track debut in the Golden Rod after competing on Woodbine's synthetic
Polytrack in her prior five efforts. She breezed Thursday at Fair Grounds,
posting five-eighths in 1:03.
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