An open lengths winner of three starts at Turfway Park this winter, Botanical will be favored to win a fourth on Saturday in the $300,000 Bourbonette Oaks against 10 three-year-old filly rivals.
Contested over 1 1/16 miles on Turfway’s Tapeta track, the Bourbonette Oaks is a Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifier, with points of 50-20-15-10-5 for the respective top five finishers up for grabs.
Trained by Brad Cox, Botanical has flowered at Turfway. After dropping her first two starts on turf last fall, the Medaglia d’Oro filly has won three in a row by a combined 21 lengths. The latest was a 6 1/2-length romp in the March 4 Cincinnati Trophy over one mile.
Cox also has another interesting contender in Flashy Gem, who returned from a six-month layoff in mid-February to win a one-mile allowance at Turfway by six lengths. The Spendthrift-owned miss is by Bolt d’Oro.
The lone graded stakes veteran in the field is Renegade Rebel, who landed the Mazarine (G3) at Woodbine by a neck when last seen in late November. The Mark Casse trainee has won two of three over Tapeta.
Bringing notable turf form into her synthetic debut is Ag Bullet, who most recently landed the Lady of Shamrock S. at Santa Anita, her second win in as many starts on the surface.
Among the undercard stakes on Saturday at Turfway, the $300,000 Kentucky Cup Classic for older horses over 1 1/8 miles figures to attract the most interest. Leading the field of 12 is multiple Grade 1 winner Santin, the Godolphin homebred who is likely using the race as a prep for his title defense in the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day.