Ver­ti­cal Oak fac­ing four in Gar­land of Roses

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By David Gren­ing

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Ver­ti­cal Oak has won eight races – six stakes – over four dif­fer­ent tracks. As far as her trainer, Steve As­mussen, is con­cerned, Ver­ti­cal Oak was never bet­ter than when she won the Dream Supreme Stakes by 2 3/4 lengths last month at Churchill Downs.

“Might have been her best race ever,” As­mussen said. “It was vis­ually im­pres­sive, it was nice. Hope­fully she can re­pro­duce an­other good race.”

As­mussen hopes Ver­ti­cal Oak will run that way Satur­day in the $100,000 Gar­land of Roses at Aqueduct, where she will meet four ri­vals in the six-fur­long race. The Gar­land of Roses is the fea­tured event on Satur­day’s nine-race card, but with the short field it’s carded as race 5 (2:17 p.m. East­ern).

Ver­ti­cal Oak, a 4-year-old daugh­ter of Gi­ant Oak, has won at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Prairie Mead­ows, and Pim­lico. All eight of her wins have come at six fur­longs.

“Three-quar­ters is as far as I ever want to run her again,” said As­mussen, who trains Ver­ti­cal Oak for Kirk and Judy Ro­bi­son. “As a 3-year-old, we tried a few [other] things.”

In her Dream Supreme vic­tory, Ver­ti­cal Oak got a beau­ti­ful trip, stalk­ing one speed horse from the out­side post un­der Rafael San­tana Jr. Ver­ti­cal Oak will again have the out­side post un­der Eric Can­cel on Satur­day.

“I love the draw,” As­mussen said.

Dream Pauline fin­ished third to Ver­ti­cal Oak in the Dream Supreme, but she had to steady mul­ti­ple times af­ter get­ting stuck down on the in­side. Dream Pauline breaks from the rail Satur­day.

“She had a rough race for her, down in­side, got checked hard twice down the back­side,” trainer Kiaran McLaugh­lin said. “But the win­ner was im­pres­sive.”

Yorkiepoo Princess is com­ing off a 5 3/4-length vic­tory in the off-the-turf Au­tumn Days Stakes here on Nov. 25. This will be her third race in less than five weeks, but she ex­cels dur­ing the cold weather months and at Aqueduct.

“As­mussen’s horse looks like the class of the race,” said Ed­die Barker, trainer of Yorkiepoo Princess.

But, Barker said, Yorkiepoo Princess “likes this track, likes the cold weather.”

“We’ll take a shot,” he said. “I know it’s a tough race, but she’s go­ing to show up. I’m con­fi­dent about that.”

Sower won the Pump­kin Pie Stakes at Bel­mont on Oct. 28. She and Ti­galalu scratched out of the Grade 3 Go for Wand last Satur­day for this spot.


Ver­ti­cal Oak, by Gi­ant Oak Last 3 Bey­ers: 92-91-88

◗ Looks to get fa­vor­able setup break­ing from the out­side post in a com­pact field.

◗ She is the only graded win­ner in the group

Dream Pauline, by Tapit Last 3 Bey­ers: 77-91-71

◗ Had le­git­i­mate trou­ble in the Dream Supreme, but it more likely cost her sec­ond than a chance at win­ning.

◗ Won her de­but by six lengths here last De­cem­ber.

◗ David Co­hen be­comes her fourth dif­fer­ent rider.

Yorkiepoo Princess, by Kan­tharos Last 3 Bey­ers: 96-86-63

◗ Run­ning back two weeks af­ter record­ing ca­reer-high Beyer win­ning off-the-turf Au­tumn Days.

◗ Has a run­ning style sim­i­lar to Ver­ti­cal Oak’s and is drawn in­side of that op­po­nent.


Ver­ti­cal Oak, who got a 92 Beyer for her Dream Supreme win, has posted all eight of her wins over six fur­longs.

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