November 17, 2018

Suncoast, Martha Washington attract Kentucky Oaks hopefuls

Cosmic Burst captures an allowance/optional claimer under jockey Joe Rocco Jr. at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 25, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

A pair of stakes offering points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks take place Saturday, and each will award 10-4-2-1 points to the respective top four finishers toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The $150,000 Suncoast Stakes will go off first at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida. The mile-and-40-yard affair attracted eight runners as it makes its debut in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series.

Daisy will attempt a return to the winner’s circle in the contest off a fourth-placing in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct on December 2. The John Servis trainee broke her maiden by eight lengths last October and captured the Tempted Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct a month later. The Blame filly gets new rider John Velazquez in the irons as she makes her sophomore bow in the Suncoast.

Blonde Bomber is also looking to get back to her winning ways in this spot. The gray daughter of Fort Larned broke her maiden by 4 1/2 lengths and took the Our Dear Peggy Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths at Gulfstream Park last September, then surprised at 30-1 odds when third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar. The Stanley Gold charge ran fourth in the Silverbulletday Stakes while making her three-year-old debut on January 13, and keeps Jose Lezcano in the irons here.

C. S. Incharge faces winners for the first time after wiring her maiden by 3 1/2 lengths on January 3 at Gulfstream Park. That came in an off-the-turf contest over a sloppy, sealed track, and earned the Dale Romans pupil a 92 BRIS Speed rating. That number is surpassed in this field only by Blonde Bomber’s 94 garnered for her Breeders’ Cup third. Joel Rosario has the call on C. S. Incharge.

So Refined wired her maiden on January 12 over track and distance, and gets first-time Lasix added on Saturday. Belles Orb scored a neck win against allowance/optional claiming rivals going seven furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs on January 10. Mihrab was fourth in the Gin Talking Stakes most recently on December 30 at Laurel Park, one race after breaking her maiden by 5 3/4 lengths at that Maryland venue.

Rounding out the Suncoast field are maidens Prospective Lady and Battle Back Curly.

Six were entered for the one-mile Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas about two hours later.

Cosmic Burst, a 5 1/4-length victress of the Trapeze Stakes last out on December 17, headlines the half-dozen fillies. Trained by Donnie Von Hemel, the Violence filly is riding a three-race win streak that began when she broke her maiden second out at Keeneland in October. Richard Eramia keeps the mount.

Secret Passion was third in the Dixie Belle Stakes and is the only runner from that contest to return in this next race in Oaklawn’s series of Kentucky Oaks preps. The Scott Gelner-conditioned filly captured the Prairie Gold Lassie last July and brings Edwin Maldonado along for the ride.

Sassy Sienna broke her maiden over the turf at Indiana Grand last July 19 and only returned to the winner’s circle on January 15 going a mile at Oaklawn Park, scoring by 9 1/2 lengths in an allowance/optional claimer. Gary Stevens stays aboard the Brad Cox pupil.

Red Ruby and Tyfosha tie in regards to the field-best BRIS Speed rating, with each earning a 92 figure for breaking their maidens. The Kellyn Gorder-trained Red Ruby did so by 3 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs in late November while Doug O’Neill saddled Tyfosha to a 4 1/4-length score on January 21 at Oaklawn.

Grats Road, beaten double-digit lengths in her past three races, completes the field.

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