04/06/2009 11:00PM

Evita Argentina auditions for Oaks

Benoit & Associates
Evita Argentina, who beat the boys last out in the San Vicente, will be a heavy favorite in Wednesday's Grade 2 Beaumont.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - All Evita Argentina did in her last race was become the first filly in 62 years to beat the boys in the San Vicente Stakes. She won't be rewriting history in such dramatic fashion Wednesday, but she will have the opportunity to take a major step toward the 135th Kentucky Oaks when she runs in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland.

Trainer John Sadler said that even though he isn't "totally sold" on how well Evita Argentina might ultimately handle the two-turn distance of the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, he is convinced the filly should be tough to deny when she goes the Beard course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet in the 24th running of the Beaumont.

"She's got a very good kick going seven-eighths," said Sadler. "If she runs well Wednesday, we're going to look at the Oaks."

Garrett Gomez, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey, was aboard Evita Argentina when she rolled from last place to win the Feb.o16 San Vicente over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride. She became the first filly since Hubble Bubble in 1947 to win the San Vicente, for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.

Evita Argentina, with Gomez back, was assigned post 1 in a field of seven 3-year-old fillies in the $150,000 Beaumont. Bred and owned by Halo Farms, she already has won three stakes from seven starts and figures as a heavy favorite in the Polytrack race.

Last year, Gomez won his first Beaumont when guiding Ariege from post 1 to a come-from-behind triumph for trainer Bobby Frankel.

The only other stakes winner in the Beaumont field is Selva, a speedy filly trained by David Carroll. Robby Albarado has the mount on Selva, whose five starts include victories in the Sorority at Monmouth, the Glorious Song at Woodbine, and the Mardi Gras at Fair Grounds.

The Beaumont, which has been contested in recent years by such standouts as Xtra Heat, Bird Town, Halfbridled, and Forever Together, goes as the eighth of nine races on a Wednesday card that also includes three allowances (races 4, 6, 7). First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.

For years, the title sponsor of the Beaumont was Stonerside Farm, but that affiliation was dropped after Stonerside was bought last September by Darley Stud.