02/05/2013 2:35PM

Golden Gate: Butterfly Soul likely to face fillies again in California Oaks

Benoit & Associates
Butterfly Soul, here winning the Phil D. Shepherd at Fairplex in September, ran fourth against the boys in the California Derby and is likely to return with fillies in the California Oaks on Saturday.

Trainer Genaro Vallejo took a shot running the filly Butterfly Soul against males in last month’s California Derby. Although she ran well, Butterfly Soul is probably headed back to the 3-year-old filly ranks in Saturday’s $50,000 California Oaks.

Butterfly Soul, who won the Phil D. Shepherd at Fairplex in September and lost a photo on the turf in the Pike Place Dancer here in October, finished fourth behind Zeewat in the California Derby, losing by 2 1/4 lengths.

“She ran a good race,” Vallejo said. “I thought she could beat the boys, but there was a very slow pace that worked against her.”

After the derby, Vallejo said he’d consider running Butterfly Soul in the Grade 3 El Camino Real Derby. He hasn’t ruled out the El Camino, but he concedes that he’s leaning toward the California Oaks.

“I really want to run against the boys again,” he said. “She only got beat a couple lengths. She just needs a little more pace.”

Vallejo and owner Johnny Taboada are no strangers to El Camino success, combining with longshot winner Autism Awareness in 2008.

While Vallejo is tempted to go for another upset in the El Camino with Butterfly Soul, he said that the California Oaks gives the Henny Hughes filly a better shot at the win.

“In the meantime, we need to win with her,” he said. “She’ll run anything, short or long, on grass, dirt, or synthetics. It’s just a matter of getting a little pace for her.”

Racing secretary David Jerkens, who was at Santa Anita on Sunday trying to hustle entries in the El Camino, said early runners scheduled for the Oaks are recent maiden winners Branding and Sweet Tess, stakes-placed My Lil Shamrock, and Jerry’shoneycarol, who was third behind Lucky Moment and My Lil Shamrock in a Jan. 13 allowance prep.

Lucky Moment, winner of the prep race, is nominated, but trainer Lloyd Mason said after the victory she was unlikely to run her in the Oaks and did not indicate to Jerkens that he had changed his mind.