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BALTIMORE, MD – J Kirk & Judi Robison’s Vertical Oak, testing stakes company for the first time, took the lead with a furlong to run and sprinted clear to a 3 3/4-length triumph in the Grade 3, $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness at Pimlico Race Course on Friday.
The 32nd running of the Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies was the second consecutive victory for Vertical Oak following the Goldfinch Stakes at Prairie Meadows on April 29 in her previous start.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who also teamed up earlier to win the Grade 3, $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff with Terra Promessa, Vertical Oak finished the 6-furlong trip in 1:10.06 over a fast main track. Asmussen previously the Miss Preakness in 2009 with Heart Ashley.
“She’s a nice filly,” said Asmussen. “She got away from the gate cleanly. That’s been key for her. Jose did a great job getting her away from the gate. I thought she ran very powerfully from there. I felt she was fast enough for this group off her last race. She had a rough trip the time before, so I was concerned about her confidence. This did exactly what I hoped it would.”
My Miss Chiff was fastest from the gate and was in front after completing fractions of :22.61 and :45.54 when she began feeling the heat from Vertical Oak. Ortiz and Vertical Oak assumed the lead at the top of the stretch and couldn’t be caught down the lane to spring the mild upset.
“She broke well,” said Ortiz. “I had to put her there because of the size of the field. I was in great position going into the turn. I was third in the clear. I waited and waited, then she jumped into the bit, so I knew I had a horse when I asked her.”
Our Majesty passed My Miss Chiff late to get second, with Too Much Tip closing for fourth. Astrollinthepark, R Angel Kathelyn, Deer Valley, Crabcakes, Stormy Embrace, Nonna Bella, Who’s the Lady, Discreet Deceit, and Bode’s Dream completed the order of finish.
Norman Casse, assistant to trainer Mark Casse, reported that Pretty City Dancer had stepped on herself in the paddock and ripped off a shoe. She became antsy as they attempted to put a new one on, and the decision was made to scratch.
“She tried to flip the first time we put a nail in, and that was it,” he said. “It wasn’t worth it. She wasn’t having anything to do with it, just too worked up. At that point, she’s going to be compromised in the race, so why would you do it? You’re just running out there for no reason. Some horses can have a shoe put on in the stall, some can’t. She just couldn’t do it, it was overwhelming.”
Vertical Oak returned $15.60, $5.60, and $5. Our Majesty brought back $4 and $3, while My Miss Chiff paid $6.60 to show.
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Trainer Ron Moquett, Our Majesty: “She ran well. She got shuffled back a little bit there and kind of lost sight of what she was doing and took herself out of it. Whenever she got out, she goes to running again. First time out traveling so far, first time doing everything. I’m proud of her, and she got beat by a good filly. I’m pleased. She’s graded-stakes placed and we’ll get us a win — it’s coming.”
Jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr., Our Majesty “It was a new track for her, so she started looking around. Turning for home, when she figured she had to run, she came back running. She got a little confused today. We’ve got a lot of filly for the future.”
Trainer Al Stall, Jr., My Miss Chiff: “You always like to win. She did well for herself. She left on her toes and carried herself as far as she could go. All and all, we are happy.”
Jockey Joel Rosario, My Miss Chiff: “It was a good race. She got up there and was happy where she was, and then it looked like we got second, but we got third.”
Pimlico Race Course
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