11/05/2015 6:32PM

Balmoral: Trainer Oakes with a monster in Devil Child

Linscott Photo
Devil Child seeks her third straight win for trainer Chris Oakes.

There will be plenty of stakes activity at Balmoral Park on Saturday night and trainer Chris Oakes is hoping that his streaking pacing filly Devil Child can continue her ascent in the $120,000 American-National for 3-year-old fillies.

"She's the real deal," Oakes said of the daughter of American Ideal that wife Susan and the Crawford Farms purchased in October.

"We bought her after her first start in Lexington," said Oakes. "Her first race for us was really good. She was shuffled back and charged home."

Oakes was referring to the Glen Garnsey Memorial on October 10 at The Red Mile, where she placed a solid second behind eventual Breeders Crown champion Divine Caroline.

[DRF HARNESS LIVE: Real-time insights every Saturday night. American Nationals from Balmoral highlight this week--Starts at 7:00 p.m.]

"We were considering supplementing her for the Breeders Crown after that mile," said Oakes, "But because of the $62,500 supplemental payment and the fact we had only had her for a week we decided to pass."

Instead Oakes took the filly to his home course, The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, and she romped against a group of seasoned mares in a career best 1:49 3/5 clocking. She returned to stakes action last week with Tim Tetrick aboard and was a very convincing 1:50 3/5 winner in the USS Indianapolis, a six-figure stakes event.

"She was really sharp and she beat Sassa Hanover," said Oakes, recognizing the degree of difficulty.

As for the purchase of the filly late in the season, Oakes said it wasn't difficult.
"If you look at her lines there are a lot of half-mile track races. She was in with a solid group of horses and was right there. I thought we could make a few changes and help her out," said Oakes.

Oakes said that his first move was to go from steel to aluminum shoes. He also confessed that adding a more seasoned driver has played heavily into her recent success.

On Saturday Devil Child drew post seven in the third race on the Balmoral Park program. There are three holdovers from last week's Hoosier Park stakes event including Southwind Roulette. Trainer Ron Burke sends out Southwind Roulette from the pole position.

Oakes has another stakes horse in Luck Be Withyou entered at Balmoral and while he drew the pole position, the conditioner wasn't as high on his prospects for Saturday night.

"You know I think he's just a better horse on a five-eighths mile track. For some reason he doesn't do as well in the long stretch," said Oakes.

Despite such a proclamation, Luck Be Withyou enters the $136,500 contest with nearly $400,000 banked this year on the strength of nine wins in 23 starts. His most recent effort was a 1:50 2/5 score at Harrah's Philadelphia.

"I don't know what it is but for some reason George Napolitano Jr. gets along with him the best. He seems to thrive when George drives him," said Oakes.

Perhaps Oakes’ less than seal of approval on his charge have a lot to do with the other horses in the American-National, race seven on the program. Primarily it’s the presence of Breeders Crown winner Always B Miki (post 3) and the incredible Foiled Again (post 5). Miki is undefeated in his three late-season starts including a powerhouse Crown victory. Foiled Again has been counted out all season long but the 11-year-old has now captured two of his last three starts including last Saturday's Hoosier Park Pacing Derby in a 1:50 3/5 mile.

Freaky Feet Pete, the hottest horse in North America, tries the Balmoral Park surface in the $150,000 American-National for 3-year-old pacing colts and geldings, race five on the program. Freaky Feet Pete drew post two for driver Trace Tetrick in quest of his 15th victory of the season. The Indiana-bred colt smoked Wiggle It Jiggleit in the stretch of last Saturday's Monument Circle scoring in a 1:49 3/5 mile with a blistering 26-second final quarter. Of the six rivals in the American-National, Lost For Words and My Hero Ron appear closest in talent to Freaky Feet Pete.

With stakes season winding down, Oakes plans on moving his stable to Florida by December 1. He was active at the just completed yearling segment of the Harrisburg sale having purchased eight yearlings.