10/17/2007 11:00PM

Blue Angel close to a stakes breakthrough

EmailBlue Angel has been knocking on the door in stakes company since being purchased privately this summer, and those efforts make her a top contender among 12 well-matched fillies in Saturday night's $75,000 Remington Park Oaks.

The one-mile turf race is the richest of three stakes on the card, with all of the races restricted to fillies or mares. The stakes are part of a week's worth of festivities leading up to Sunday's $300,000 Oklahoma Derby.

Blue Angel, who was bought out of Florida, is seeking her first stakes win. She has been close in her last two starts, both at Louisiana Downs, finishing second in the $75,000 Lyrique on Aug. 23, then third to lone-speed winner Tensas Yucatan in the $200,000 Marie P. DeBartolo Oaks.

"We're very happy with her," trainer Bret Calhoun said of Blue Angel. "She's run two bang-up races for us. She has trained good since her last out, and I'm looking for a good effort Saturday."

Blue Angel will break from post 3 under Carlos Gonzalez.

"I think she'll be within a few lengths of the lead," Calhoun said.

The pacesetter could be Buddha Lady. Drawn on the rail, she is stretching out after finishing second in the $50,000 Fair Queen at 6 1/2 furlongs at Albuquerque. Other top contenders Saturday include Kentucky shipper Aidan's Bella and Lyrique winner Whisper to Me.

Ada: Valid Lil comes off big Beyer

Valid Lil looks like a standout in the $50,000 Ada, a six-furlong race for fillies and mares. Unbeaten on dirt in six main-track starts, she comes into the race on the heels of a 3 1/4-length win in the $45,000 New Braunfels at Retama Park on Oct. 6.

Valid Lil covered six furlongs in 1:09.80 to earn a career-best Beyer Figure of 96. For the Ada, she will break from post 8 and figures to be prominent under Ramsey Zimmerman.

"She doesn't have a lot of gate speed," said Calhoun. "Her first jump, maybe two jumps, is not that quick away from the gate. Her second and third jump, she's explosive. She's right in the race and can be anywhere you want."

Valid Lil's lone defeat came in a turf stakes. One start later, she won an optional claimer on the main track at Remington.

Gaylord: Two sharp fillies clash

Victory Trip and O.K. Krystal will each be looking for her third straight win when they meet in the $50,000 E.L. Gaylord Memorial, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

Victory Trip stalked and pounced her way to a 6 1/4-length maiden special weight win two starts ago at Remington, and earned a Beyer Figure of 88, the highest career number in the Gaylord. Victory Trip returned one start later and rolled to a three-length win in a $75,000 optional claimer, also at Remington. She will break from the rail under leading rider Cliff Berry.

"I hope there's a little bit of speed that she can run at," said Joe Petalino, who trains Victory Trip.

Kenny Smith trains O.K. Krystal, who won her maiden wire to wire at Prairie Meadows on June 22. One start later, she closed from last to win an allowance at Remington on Sept. 3. She will be ridden by Tim Doocy.