Yorkshire Oaks (G1) — Race 4 (10:35 a.m. ET)
The three-year-old Snowfall won only once in seven starts as a juvenile, but in three starts this year has laid claim to being the best filly in Europe. On Thursday, she will be a short-priced favorite to defeat older rivals for the first time in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) on day two of York’s Ebor Festival.
The 1 1/2-mile Yorkshire Oaks offers an automatic bid to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) in November, but another sensational performance by Snowfall would likely put the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) as the primary autumn goal for the Ballydoyle-owned daughter of Deep Impact.
Unplaced in all four stakes appearances at two, Snowfall was a 14-1 chance in her May 12 comeback in the Musidora (G3) at York. Winning that race by 3 3/4 lengths, Snowfall validated that performance with a demolition of her rivals in the Epsom Oaks (G1) in June by 16 lengths, a record margin in the ancient classic.
Snowfall was no less dominant in last month’s Irish Oaks (G1), beating stablemate and returning rival Divinely by 8 1/2 lengths.
Wonderful Tonight, a four-year-old who must concede Snowfall nine pounds on the scale, enters the Yorkshire Oaks on a four-race group win streak. However, victories in the Prix de Royallieu (G1), British Champions Fillies and Mares (G1), Hardwicke (G2), and Lillie Langtry (G2) all occurred on soft or heavy ground.
“Obviously I’m hoping there’s a bit more rain, but if the ground is good we’ll give it a go,” trainer David Menuisier said.
Loving Dream pulled an unexpected 18-1 surprise in the Ribblesdale (G2) at Royal Ascot, but the filly to consider out of that 12-furlong test might be runner-up Eshaada, who fell three-quarters of a length short after being left with too much ground to make up in the final furlongs.