June 7, 2023

Saratoga Oaks pits Speaktomeofsummer against familiar foes, intriguing newcomers

Speaktomeofsummer wins the 2020 Lake Placid Stakes (NYRA/Coglianese Photo)

Trainer Christophe Clement could be in line for a lucrative turf double at Saratoga this weekend. One day after his dynamic duo of Decorated Invader and Gufo clash in the Saratoga Derby Invitational, he will send out top contender Speaktomeofsummer in Sunday’s $500,000 Saratoga Oaks Invitational.

Speaktomeofsummer comes off a gritty score in the July 19 Lake Placid (G2) over the Spa’s inner turf, where she prevailed by a head from Stunning Sky with Queens Embrace and Key Biscayne rounding out the superfecta. The quartet renews rivalry in this 1 3/16-mile test on the Mellon course, and the extra sixteenth here doesn’t figure to be a material factor in their rematch.

Appalachian (G2) winner Enola Gay faces a bigger stretch-out after scoring her stakes-record breakthrough at a mile. But given how the Shug McGaughey trainee kicked late at Keeneland, the distance shouldn’t be a problem. Note also that the Uncle Mo filly receives added stamina from her female line, descending from the Group 2-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Moon Queen and 1988 Rothmans International (G1) heroine Infamy. Jose Ortiz gets the call.

British import Ricetta is cutting back in trip for her U.S. debut for Bill Mott. Previously with John Gosden, the Juddmonte homebred was last seen finishing third as the favorite in the about 1 5/16-mile Musidora (G3) at York July 9. Although Ricetta lost second late, she had traveled a bit keenly in the early stages. The royally bred daughter of Camelot, out of a half-sister to the brilliant Kingman, could be the latest to find American conditions congenial. Javier Castellano picks up the mount.

Mott also has Antoinette, a Godolphin homebred who reverts to turf after an even third in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1). The dual-surface performer has gotten in the habit of placing third in four straight stakes, notably the Wonder Again (G3) on turf in which Speaktomeofsummer was a subpar fourth. John Velazquez will likely use her tactical speed from post 3.

Interestingly, Antoinette was also under consideration for Saturday’s Alabama Stakes (G1), but Mott opted for Harvey’s Lil Goil in that spot. The versatile Harvey’s Lil Goil had Sunday’s Saratoga Oaks as another option herself, and both fillies are switching surfaces this weekend at the Spa. It will be fascinating to see if the Hall of Famer has maximized his return with this deployment of forces.