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When it comes to three-year old fillies Oaklawn Park is second to none! Rachel Alexandra, Eight Belles, and Blind Luck are some of the recent names of fillies that ran at Oaklawn before going on to bigger and better things. While the track is known for its three-year old colt program, the fillies have been just as dominant. Last year it was Include Betty and Sarah Sis who followed in the footsteps of those legends, and while neither had the campaign those before them had they still had very solid 2015 seasons. However, neither went on to have success in the Kentucky Oaks which is what this series is all about. This year’s crop looks to be shaping up to be a solid group, but will any of them (or any horse period) be able to challenge Songbird in the Kentucky Oaks? The path to finding out that answer starts soon.
My Master Plan comes to Oaklawn Park with the most hype from the locals. The three year old filly trained by Donnie K Von Hemel comes to Hot Springs with a perfect four for four record, winning all those races at Remington Park by a combined 16 lengths. Last time out she was victorious in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park as she showed a ton of class to hold on by a head on a very sloppy track. Her sloppy track win really shows off her versatility as she has won on fast, good, and now sloppy surfaces. The undefeated filly has had two workouts so far at Oaklawn, and looks to be pointing towards the Martha Washington Stakes on February 6th to kick off her 2016 campaign.
Cosmic Evolution is another stakes winner who is at Oaklawn and is also most likely aiming towards the Martha Washington Stakes. Her connections are no stranger to success with fillies. Trainer Lon Wiggins is the son of Hal Wiggins who campaigned Rachel Alexandra at the beginning of her career, and her jockey is Calvin Borel…also the same as Rachel Alexandra of course. Cosmic Evolution kicked off her career with a second place effort in a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs, and next time out won the Debutante Stakes by an impressive length and a half. She then went to West Virginia to run in the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes where she finished third beaten only three lengths. Since that race in August she hasn’t ran in a race, but she’s been busy on the workout tab since arriving at Oaklawn Park. She has yet to record a bullet workout yet, but has improved each and every time she’s been timed.
While those two are the established fillies, lets talk about a few that are flying somewhat under the radar. Texas Gem is the first that comes to mind. This Tiznow filly was an impressive maiden winner at Remington Park before finishing fifth in the before mentioned Trapeze Stakes. The lightly raced filly has looked solid in the mornings according to some of the local clockers. Piracy is another nicely bred Pioneerof the Nile filly that caught my eye in a solid maiden debut win at Churchill Downs. She looks to be talented, but hasn’t had a workout since December 10th so that could be concerning. If you really want to talk sleepers…how about three horses with great pedigrees that haven’t even started yet! Moving Away (full sister to Alternation), Girl Power (full sister to Now I Know), and Sassy Miss Sue (full sister to Tiz Miz Sue) are all expected to debut at Oaklawn in 2016. How exciting is that!?
So it’s that time of year where everyone has a sleeper horse…you probably have some of your own as well. It’s also that time of year where we speculate who might ship into Oaklawn to take advantage of this great series of races. With Songbird on the west coast it could be very possible that we see several from California invade Hot Springs. As of now we know Cosmic Evolution and My Master Plan are the headliners, but things can change quickly in racing. We’ll see who comes out of Oaklawn and takes the next step towards greatness in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs!
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