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Ginger trumps Gold in Martha Washington; Redressthebalance takes Cal Oaks

Sister Ginger ran herself into Kentucky Oaks consideration by taking the Martha Washington (Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography)

Millennium Farms and Little Brother Farm's homebred Sister Ginger turned back the game effort of Rose to Gold for a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. The Steve Asmussen trainee was seeking her first win since breaking her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths last October at Remington Park, and finished this one mile contest over the fast dirt in 1:39 2/5.

Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. was in the saddle as Sister Ginger tried to rebound off a well-beaten last-of-six placing as the favorite in an optional claimer last out. The bay daughter of Student Council headed straight to the front when the gates opened, but found plenty of company in the form of Lady Stonewall, Rose to Gold and Cloudy in Sandiego just in behind.

Sister Ginger set the pace through splits of :23 4/5, :48 3/5 and 1:13 2/5, and was joined by Rose to Gold on the outside while rounding the final turn. For a moment the even-money favorite appeared ready to draw off, but Sister Ginger fought back on the inside and regained the lead in midstretch.

Sister Ginger kept on motoring as Juan Levya angled Rose to the Gold toward the rail, easily defeating her rival as the 19-1 second longest shot on the board. The sophomore lass paid $41.20, $12.40 and $7.20 to her faithful backers, and earned 10 points on the new Road to the Kentucky Oaks points system for the win.

"It was the perfect trip," Santana said. "She made the lead fairly easily. When I moved her, I had a lot of horse in my hand. She moved nice. When I was beside the number 9 (Rose to Gold), I bumped with her a little bit and my filly got a little scared, but when I pushed her in the stretch, she went on and won the race."

Rose to Gold was game in defeat, easily taking second by 3 1/4 lengths over Broken Spell in her first start back since capturing the Grade 3 Delta Downs Princess last November. Broken Spell had a half-length to spare on American Sugar in fourth, who in turn was a neck up on Liberty Girl at the wire. I Am Miss Brown, Cloudy in Sandiego and Lady Stonewall completed the order of finish after Phonybooksnrecords was scratched.

Sister Ginger was unplaced in her initial outing on Remington's turf last August, but quickly bounced back in a mile dirt contest at that venue to break her maiden next out. She tried turf one more time, finishing second in the La Senorita, before switching back to the main track to just miss by a nose when runner-up in the Mistletoe in early December.

The Kentucky-bred miss made her sophomore debut at Oaklawn on January 11, but was never a factor and finished 23 1/4 lengths behind winner Liberty Girl as the 7-5 favorite. She returned to form in this spot, and now sports a 2-2-0 mark from six starts having doubled her career earnings to $87,761.

Sister Ginger is out of the winning Silver Hawk mare Letters in Silver, who is a half-sister to stakes victress Laurie Begone. This female family also includes Grade 1 scorer Winds of Thought and Group 2 hero Elegant Air.

Redressthebalance finally earned her first stakes, and initial U.S., win in the Cal Oaks (Vassar Photography)

Later on Saturday, in another points race for the Kentucky Oaks, Rutherford Group et al's Redressthebalance came with a powerful rally to capture the $53,550 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. With jockey Christian Santiago Reyes in the irons, the Doug O'Neill pupil earned her first win stateside when completing 1 1/16 miles on the synthetic Tapeta in 1:45 2/5.

Redressthebalance bided her time well back in midpack while Marks Mine and Revive Me dueled on the front end through fractions of :24, :47 3/5 and 1:12 1/5. Marks Mine put away her rival nearing the turn, but found new challengers when the tracking My Lil Shamrock and Redressthebalance suddenly ranged up to her outside.

The stretch drive became a cavalry charge as the rest of the field caught up, but Redressthebalance got the half-length victory on the wire while a photo had to separate the next four positions following a blanket finish.

"The trainer told me to stay behind and make one move," said Reyes, who celebrated his first Golden Gate Fields stakes win by raising his whip even before crossing the wire. "I just wanted to get her in position and then wait, wait, wait. When I asked her, my filly responded. I'm very happy."

Marks Mine, the 8-5 favorite, kept her nose in front of the charging Sweet Tess, while it was a head back to Macha in fourth. Butterfly Soul finished another neck back in fifth to complete the blanket finish and was followed under the wire by My Lil Shamrock, Lucky Moment, Jerry'shoneycarol, Isadaisybelle and Revive Me. Branding was withdrawn.

Redressthebalance was sent off the 10-1 fifth choice after being unplaced in her first two U.S. starts, and returned $23.60, $8.60 and $5 to her backers.

Bred in Ireland by Kevin Walsh, the bay daughter of Ramonti began her career in England, capturing her initial two races before finishing fifth in a Group 3 at Newmarket last August. Redressthebalance was unable to break into the top three in her remaining three starts overseas, including a pair of Group 3s, and continued that tradition when making her U.S. bow in the Grade 3 Miesque on November 4.

She was sixth last out in an optional claimer at Santa Anita while making her sophomore bow on January 19, but now boasts a 9-3-0-0 mark having banked $48,784 in career earnings.

Redressthebalance is out of the Distant View mare Lady Naomi, and counts as her second dam multiple Grade/Group 2 queen Invited Guest. This is the same family as Grade 1 victor Midships.

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