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Aaron previews the 2023 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) from Aqueduct, then gives his top picks & long shots from this 2024 Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep race.
Can the Tempted Stakes winner Shimmering Allure double up for trainer Kenny McPeek? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Walking L Thoroughbreds’ Shimmering Allure will try to make the grade in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong route for juvenile fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
The Demoiselle, slated as Race 7, offers 10-5-3-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to the top-five finishers and is part of a stacked card headlined by the Grade 2, $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap in Race 10. Saturday’s 10-race program also features the Grade 3, $200,000 Go for Wand in Race 8 and the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen in Race 9, offering 10-5-3-2-1 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
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Shimmering Allure sports a consistent record of 6-2-2-0 and purse earnings of $189,095 for trainer Kenny McPeek. The Enticed dark bay, a $40,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale purchase, made her first three starts in maiden sprints restricted to horses who sold or RNA’d for less than $50,000 before stretching out to one-mile in September at Churchill Downs and driving clear to a 2 1/4-length score in similar restricted company.
She dove into deeper waters next out in the Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades in October at Keeneland, overcoming a slow start to finish fourth when 6 3/4-lengths back of the victorious Candied, who was subsequently third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Santa Anita Park.
Out of the stakes-placed Wild Again mare Shimmering Tale, Shimmering Allure followed by shipping to the Big A for the one-turn mile Tempted on November 5 and rallied stoutly down the lane to score by three lengths over returning rival Vino Rouge. The impressive effort on the cut back to one-turn garnered a career-best 77 Beyer Speed Figure.
Shimmering Allure has remained in New York with McPeek’s Belmont Park division, posting a half-mile breeze Sunday in 49.50 seconds over the dirt training track.
“She has been breezing at Belmont, and she’s in a nice routine,” McPeek said. “I like the way her last one set up. She’s been pretty versatile at this point. She’s run shorter, longer and handled two turns. She’s handled just about everything we’ve thrown at her. The Demoiselle, at a mile and an eighth, the pace of the race will be interesting, but she’s clicking away and doing well.”
Junior Alvarado has the call from post 7.
2023 Kentucky Oaks
Repole Stable’s Life Talk [post 3, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] garnered a 74 Beyer for her second-out graduation in August traveling one-mile out of the Wilson Chute at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, the Gun Runner bay followed in October with a third-place effort in the Grade 1 Frizette contested over a sloppy and sealed Big A main track. Last out, the $335,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase was an even fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 3 at Santa Anita Park.
Life Talk is out of the Bernardini mare Touchy Feely, who is a half-sister to graded stakes-winner Indian Firewater.
Peter Callahan and James Reiley McDonald’s Ringy Dingy [post 8, Katie Davis] arrives from a 6 1/4-length score on October 13 in the one-mile White Clay Creek traveling two turns at Delaware Park.
Trained by Danny Gargan, the Dialed In chestnut was away slowly but advanced along the rail from last-of-6 down the backstretch under Katie Davis. Ringy Dingy continued to save ground through the final turn while waiting for racing room and surged to the lead once straightened away to notch a commanding win.
“Going down the backside she was really last and I thought this was not going to end well,” Gargan said. “But she kicked it in and came home really nicely. I don’t know how much she beat that day, but she looked like she’d run all day.”
The $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale purchase was a distant fifth in her July debut at the Spa after breaking poorly and rushing into contention. She graduated at second asking in September traveling 6 1/2-furlongs at Belmont at the Big A with Davis aboard for the first time.
Gargan credited Davis with metering out Ringy Dingy’s strong burst of energy by utilizing a stalking trip in her maiden score.
“She has a turn of foot when you ask her. She’ll accelerate fast. The key is not using it early,” Gargan said. “She’s really bred to stretch and you have to sit and wait on that. If you ask her early, she’ll go but she won’t finish. We’re hoping she’ll break well and get a decent trip.”
Out of the multiple stakes-placed Touch Gold mare Wind Caper, Ringy Dingy is a full-sister to dual Grade 1-winner Defunded.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will saddle Alpha Delta Stables’ New York-homebred Dolomite [post 2, Manny Franco].
Dolomite has made both of her starts sprinting against fellow state-breds, closing to finish second after a troubled trip in her September debut traveling six furlongs at the Spa. The Unified bay returned with an impressive score going seven furlongs in October here, drawing clear by 6 1/4-lengths over next-out winner Munny Grab.
“She’s doing fine. I think two turns is really going to suit that horse,” Brown said.
Dolomite is out of the New York-bred Algorithms mare Sunset Ridge, who won the 2017 Fleet Indian for Brown.
Godolphin’s regally-bred Most of All [post 4, Jose Ortiz] steps into stakes company for the first time after a 10 1/4-length graduation at third asking here for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
The Quality Road bay is out of the graded stakes-winning Bernardini mare Indulgent, who is a half-sister to multiple Grade 1-winning multimillionaire Frosted. Most of All was far back in her first two outings at Saratoga, finishing ninth in a main-track sprint and 10th in a turf route before running away from a compact field in an off-the-turf one-turn mile on October 20 here over sloppy and sealed going.
Rounding out a talented field are New York-bred stakes winner Caldwell Luvs Gold [post 9, Luis Saez] for trainer Brad Cox; the stakes-placed Vino Rouge [post 5, Dylan Davis], who add blinkers for conditioner Tony Dutrow; along with maiden winners Cozee Rags [post 1, Jose Gomez] for trainer Brian Michael, and the George Weaver-trained Caress [post 6, Javier Castellano].
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