Feathered seeks first Grade 1 win
The graded stakes winners Consumer Credit, Feathered, and Spanish Queen can win the first Grade 1 race of their careers in Saturday’s $400,000 American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on turf at Santa Anita.
The American Oaks is run at 1 1/4 miles and is the top race at Santa Anita on Saturday. The $200,000 Californian Stakes for older horses is part of the program and serves as a prep for the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita on June 27.
Feathered, trained by Todd Pletcher, ran in three Grade 1 races for 2-year-old fillies last fall, a span that includes a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here and a second in the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos. Feathered made her turf debut in the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 1, winning the race at 1 1/16 miles by two lengths after leading throughout.
Consumer Credit is one of two fillies in the American Oaks trained by Chad Brown, who also starts Mrs Mcdougal. Brown entered three fillies but said on Wednesday that Strict Compliance will start in Saturday’s Penn Oaks at Penn National.
Consumer Credit won the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park last January and the minor Memories of Silver Stakes at Aqueduct on April 23.
Spanish Queen is one of two locally based fillies in the field of six expected runners. Trained by Richard Baltas, Spanish Queen won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on May 3, beating Sharla Rae by 1 1/2 lengths. Sharla Rae, trained by Doug O’neill, is part of the American Oaks field.
The longshot will be Dating Lady Luck. Trained in Kentucky by Al Stall Jr., Dating Lady Luck beat maidens in her third start April 23 and will have her stakes debut in the American Oaks.
Penn National: 11 in Penn Mile
On Wednesday, a field of 11 was entered for the third running of the $500,000 Penn Mile at Penn National. The Saturday card will have a first post of 6 p.m. and is front-loaded with an all-stakes pick four to begin the program.
The favorites in the Penn Mile, which will be race 4, figure to be Papacoolpapacool (post 3) and Ocho Ocho Ocho (post 4), who have shipped in from California, and Night Prowler (post 6), the winner of the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland and the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Night Prowler’s trainer, Chad Brown, won this race a year ago
with Bobby’s Kitten.
Papacoolpapacool will be ridden by Elvis Trujillo, Ocho Ocho Ocho has Mike Smith, and Javier Castellano is named on Night Prowler.
Further down the Penn Mile pecking order is the undefeated, bargain-basement special Woodwin W, who drew post 2 for trainer Jamie Ness. Woodwin W notched his fourth straight win in the $100,000 James Murphy Stakes on the turf at Pimlico on Preakness Day.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a horse start out 4 for 4 and win a stakes like this guy,” Ness said.
Woodwin W is owner Woody Weeks’s first horse. Weeks owns Weeks Auction Co. in Ocala, Fla., which sells heavy equipment and trucks. He purchased Woodwin W last October at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s mixed sale for $12,500 and turned him over to Ness, who led the trainers’ standings at Tampa Bay Downs this winter.
“This horse just kind of slipped through the cracks,” Ness said. “He was originally named Prod, but Mr. Weeks renamed him after his father, Woodwin Weeks.”
Prior to the James Murphy Stakes, Woodwin W had won a Tampa Bay maiden race, a Gulfstream Park optional-starter race, and a Pimlico allowance. He has earned $114,000.
In the one-mile Murphy, Woodwin W relaxed off the early pace, took the lead four wide in upper stretch, then held off a troubled Force the Pass, who also will run in the Penn Mile. Woodwin W was timed in 1:34.32.
“He’s improved every race for us,” Ness said. “I’m excited.”
The Penn Mile field, in post-position order, is: Granny’s Kitten, Woodwin W, Papacoolpapacool, Ocho Ocho Ocho, Comanche’s Storm, Night Prowler, High Noon Rider, Force the Pass, My Point Exactly, Tuba, and Gallery.
In other Saturday National:
Mountainview Handicap, 1 1/8 miles, race 3: The field of 11 includes Albano, Kid Cruz, Cousin Stephen, Golden Lad, Street Babe, and East Hall.
Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup, five furlongs on turf, race 2: Ben’s Cat, Bold Thunder, Amelia’s Wild Ride, and Grateful Nation will be rematched in a field of seven.
Penn Oaks, one mile on turf, race 1: Edgewood Stakes runner-up Quality Rocks, West Coast shipper Prize Exhibit, Honey Ryder Stakes winner Red Sashay, and Strict Compliance top a field of eight.
Churchill: Work All Week in Aristides
Work All Week will start from the outside post in a field of seven older horses Saturday when making his first start since he won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last fall.
Bred and owned in Illinois by Midwest Thoroughbreds, the 6-year-old gelding will have Florent Geroux back aboard as a heavy favorite in the Grade 3, $100,000 Aristides.
From the rail, the lineup for the sixfurlong Aristides is Alsvid, Viva Majorca, Googleado, Gentlemen’s Bet, Nates Mineshaft, Good Lord, and Work All Week.
The Aristides goes as race 8 and will be directly followed by the $65,000 Opening Verse, a 1 1/16-mile turf race in which Midwest Thoroughbreds also has The Pizza Man making his 6-year-old debut. Departing and Regally Ready are among the opposition in a field of 10.
Evangeline Downs: Heitai defends title
Heitai might find himself on a lonely lead Saturday in the $300,000 Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint. The complexion of the race in Opelousas, La., changed Wednesday when Brian Lynch, the trainer of top contender Power Alert, said the horse will not run due to a wet forecast.
There is a 60 percent chance of rain Thursday through Saturday, according to The Weather Channel. The forecast will not interfere with plans for Heitai, who will be defending his title in the richest race of the meet at Evangeline.
“We’re committed to running,” said Tom Amoss, who trains Heitai for Rowell Enterprises Inc. “I would be disappointed if the course was compromised by the weather.”
If the race has to be moved to the main track, Heitai would be well served, as 10 of his 14 wins have come on dirt, including stakes at Evangeline Downs. “We wouldn’t mind that,” said Amoss. The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint is one of five stakes on the card Saturday, with the races worth a total of $640,000. There will be a special early post of 3:05 p.m. Central for the 12-race card. Evangeline will offer an all-stakes pick four with a guaranteed pool of $100,000. The sequence will run on races 5-8, ending with the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint.
The Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint will go with a field of seven with the defection of Power Alert, who drew the rail. Trainer Karl Broberg, who sends out Quick Dagger and Snappy Girl, said both horses will run if the race were to come off the turf Saturday.
“Snappy Girl is obviously better on the grass, but she’s also a stakes winner on the dirt at Evangeline,” Broberg said. “Quick Dagger did win an allowance on an off track, a race rained off the grass at Lone Star. Both are better on the grass but would remain in the race even if it comes off the turf.”
Others adding depth to the field include Gantry, a Grade 2 winner who will add blinkers, and Reflector, the winner of the local prep, the $60,000 Need For Speed, which last year was won by Heitai in advance of his 3 3/4-length win in the Evangeline Downs Turf Sprint.
Feathered, under Javier Castellano, wins the Edgewood Stakes.