Updated on 04/27/2012 1:51PM

Churchill Downs: Catalano optimistic Sacristy can handle longer distance of Kentucky Oaks

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Barbara D. Livingston
Sacristy will try to stretch out from seven furlongs to 1 1/8 miles for the Kentucky Oaks.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Sacristy has joined the prospective field for the 138th Kentucky Oaks after working seven furlongs Friday morning in 1:29 at Churchill Downs in preparation for what will be a daunting first try in a two-turn race.

“She’s feeling good and doing good, so that’s when you’re supposed to try them, right?” asked Wayne Catalano, who trains Sacristy for the Peachtree Stable of John Fort. “I don’t know about the distance for her, but a mile and an eighth might be questionable for a lot of those fillies.”

Sacristy will be part of what is expected to be a full gate for the $1 million Oaks, which will be run Friday at Churchill. Entries for all Friday races will be drawn Tuesday, and if an also-eligibles list is needed beyond the 14-filly limit, scratches will be announced shortly after 9 a.m. Eastern on raceday.

Sacristy, by Pulpit, won the Grade 3, six-furlong Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day for her lone stakes victory from six career starts. The earnings from that victory will enable her to make the starting gate for the Oaks should the race oversubscribe. She was most recently was second, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes, which was run at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet over the Keeneland Polytrack. That marked the farthest distance the filly has raced.

Sacristy was one of five Oaks workers on Friday, including Hard Not to Like, the Ashland Stakes runner-up who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 at Woodbine. The others, all at Churchill, were On Fire Baby, seven furlongs in 1:27; Yara, a half-mile in 51 seconds; and Oaks Lily, a half-mile in 49.40 seconds.

Several more final Oaks works were scheduled to come over the weekend, including Grace Hall, In Lingerie, and Broadway’s Alibi at Palm Meadows in Florida, along with Believe You Can and Karlovy Vary at Churchill.

The most notable Oaks defection this week came from Fantasy Stakes winner Mamma Kimbo, trained by Bob Baffert, who still has Eden’s Moon and Jemima’s Pearl for the race. As many as 16 or 17 could enter.