Oxy Lady looking like real deal
CYPRESS, Calif. – Oxy Lady arrived at Los Alamitos last weekend for Saturday’s Grade 1 Starlet Stakes via a circuitous route that included races in Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky prior to a surprise stakes win at Aqueduct on Nov. 2.
In the $300,000 Starlet Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, Oxy Lady has a chance to show she belongs in the conversation regarding the top prospects for the 2019 season.
“She’s very much on the upswing,” trainer Jack Sisterson said on Wednesday from his base at Keeneland.
“From the day we breezed her a quarter-mile, she’s improved in every work and every race.”
Oxy Lady, owned and bred by Calumet Farm, won a maiden race at Belterra Park in September in her second start and was third by a head in an optional claimer at Keeneland on Oct. 10.
Following that race, Sisterson added blinkers, on the advice of two jockeys and an exercise rider who had ridden the filly. Oxy Lady had her stakes debut in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes at a mile at Aqueduct on Nov. 2 and closed from fourth in the fog to win by five lengths at 36-1.
“People might think the Tempted was a fluke, but she’s run her race every time,” Sisterson said. “The addition of blinkers really moved her forward.”
Sisterson, 34, is a former assistant to California-based trainer Doug O’Neill, and has worked for Calumet since the spring. The Tempted Stakes is Sisterson’s most prestigious win this year.
The Starlet Stakes has six probable starters. Oxy Lady was supplemented for $10,000, along with two fillies by O’Neill – Sold It and Enaya Alrabb.
Vibrance, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2, and the stakes winners Mother Mother and Chasing Yesterday are three other contenders. Mother Mother, who won the Rags to Riches Stakes at a mile at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28, and Chasing Yesterday, the winner of the Desi Arnaz Stakes going seven furlongs at Del Mar on Nov. 12, are trained by Bob Baffert.
Improbable, unbeaten in two starts, both for Baffert, heads the list of probable starters for the Los Alamitos Futurity, also on Saturday at 1 1/16 miles. Improbable won the one-mile Street Sense Stakes by 7 1/4 lengths at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2 in his stakes debut.
Other expected runners are Dueling, Extra Hope, King of Speed, and Mucho Gusto.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said on Wednesday that Gunmetal Gray, fifth in the BC Juvenile on Nov. 2, will not start at Los Alamitos and will be pointed for the Grade 3 Sham Stakes at a mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 5.
Owner Joseph Scardino dies
Joseph Scardino, a longtime horse owner who achieved his greatest success with 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Obviously, died on Sunday. He was 86.
Scardino owned Obviously in partnership with Anthony Fanticola, who described Scardino as “a real horseman.”
“He loved horses,” Fanticola said. “He treated them well. He was the brains behind the outfit. He was my partner and best friend. He was like my brother. I’m going to miss him.”
Scardino – who lived and raced in Southern California – owned horses for several decades, and had numerous stakes winners with Fanticola, including the Grade 2-winning grass females Fanticola and Attima, and Hollywood Oaks winner Potesta. He was a longtime client of the late trainer Mike Mitchell, then had horses with Mitchell’s former assistant Phil D’Amato, who trained Obviously.
He also had the multiple graded stakes winners Silver Circus with trainer Julio Canani, and Bruho with trainer Jerry Fanning, both of whom Scardino acquired via claims.
Scardino is survived by his son, Frank, daughter, Angela Gates, and four grandchildren.
Services for Scardino will be held on Monday at St. Dorothy Catholic Church, 241 S. Valley Center Ave., in Glendora, Calif., at 10:30 a.m., Fanticola said.
Grade 3 Tempted winner Oxy Lady will get her first Grade 1 test in Saturday’s Starlet Stakes.