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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Grade 1 winner Simply Ravishing and a trio of graded stakes winners from trainer Todd Pletcher – Con Lima, Malathaat, and Zaajel – are among 21 3-year-old fillies nominated to the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) Saturday, March 27 at Gulfstream Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Oaks tops 9 supporting stakes, 5 graded, worth $1.1 million in purses on the undercard of the $750,000 Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa, which has produced the winners of 60 Triple Crown races in 69 previous runnings.
A total of 170 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points will be up for grabs in the 50th Gulfstream Park Oaks on a 100-40-20-10 basis. The 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks is April 30 at Churchill Downs.
Last year’s Gulfstream Park Oaks winner, Swiss Skydiver, went on to become only the sixth filly ever to beat males – including Kentucky Derby (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner and eventual Horse of the Year Authentic – in the Preakness Stakes (G1) and was named the 3-year-old filly champion.
Like Swiss Skydiver, Harold Lerner, Magdalena Racing, and Nehoc Stablels’ Simply Ravishing is trained by Kenny McPeek. The bay daughter of Laoban has yet to make her 3-year-old debut, having run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Golden Rod (G2) to cap her juvenile campaign.
Simply Ravishing won each of her first 3 career starts, a maiden special weight on grass and an off-the-turf P.G. Johnson, both at Saratoga, before her front-running triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Alcibiades last October at Keeneland. She has been working steadily at Gulfstream Park for her return, including a bullet 1/2-mile in 46.53 seconds March 6, fastest of 94 horses.
Pletcher, the Championship Meet’s record 16-time leading trainer, is nominated for induction to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2021. He is a four-time winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks, with Devil May Care (2010), R Heat Lightning (2011), Dreaming of Julia (2013), and In Tune (2014).
Shadwell Stables homebreds Malathaat and Zaajel are both undefeated in their young careers. Malathaat, by Hall of Famer Curlin, is a perfect 3-0 including wins in the Tempted and Demoiselle (G2) and has yet to race in 2021. Zaajel, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, broke her maiden December 20 at Gulfstream and returned to capture the Forward Gal (G3) January 30 in her only 2 starts.
Con Lima was second to Simply Ravishing in the P.G. Johnson and has raced exclusively on turf in her last 4 starts, including wins in the Ginger Brew and February 27 Herecomesthebride (G3), the latter by disqualification of first-place finisher Spanish Loveaffair.
Sabana Farm’s Wholebodemeister, trained by Juan Carlos Avila, upset the 1-mile Davona Dale (G2) February 27 at Gulfstream at odds of 52/1. She was third, beaten less than 2 lengths by Zaajel, in the Forward Gal.
Oaks nominees also include Glitter Woman winner Competitive Speed, third in the Davona Dale; Demoiselle runner-up Millefeuille, a troubled seventh in the Davona Dale, and her Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott stablemate Obligatory, a Gulfstream maiden special weight winner February 7; and last-out Gulfstream winners Army Wife, Bow Bow Girl, Mona Stella, Pass the Champagne, and Slumber Party.
Bow Bow Girl and Len Lo Lady, a runaway maiden claiming winner at Gulfstream that ran third to Army Wife last time out, are trained by 3-time Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Dale Romans. His victories came with Birdatthewire (2015), Go Maggie Go (2016), and Coach Rocks (2018).
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