02/10/2011 3:51PM

Grandacious appears well-suited to ship in for Martha Washington


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Grandacious got the call to travel to Oaklawn Park for Saturday’s $75,000 Martha Washington for a handful of different reasons. Her trainer, Bret Calhoun, said he believes the Louisiana-based Grandacious will take to both the local racing surface and the configuration of the one-mile stakes that will end at the sixteenth pole.

The Martha Washington is for 3-year-old fillies and serves as the first of two local stepping-stones to the Grade 2, $300,000 Fantasy on April 10. Mazucambera and Roma Jean, who finished one-two in the $50,000 Dixie Belle on opening day at Oaklawn, will move to two turns Saturday. The field of nine also includes front-running allowance route winners Summer Soiree and Miss Kinderhook.

Grandacious has been racing at Delta Downs. She was second to stablemate Gran Lioness in the $200,000 My Trusty Cat in her last start Jan. 14, and the seven-furlong race run around two turns has proven to be a strong one. Gran Lioness won by three lengths and earned a Beyer Figure of 96, which is the top number for a 3-year-old filly so far in 2011. As for Grandacious, she was assigned a career-high Beyer of 90.

“We have the two fillies and we wanted to separate them,” Calhoun said. “I expect a good race from Grandacious.”

Calhoun said one of the reasons the Martha Washington was targeted was because there are some similarities between Delta’s sandier racing surface over which Grandacious has been competitive all winter, and the main track at Oaklawn.

“I think she can make the transition well,” he said.

Calhoun also likes the configuration of the Martha Washington for Grandacious. She was a winner over Delta’s six-furlong oval in October, in a seven-furlong allowance. A month later, Grandacious was a close third to Bouquet Booth in the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess at a mile. Following that race, Bouquet Booth won the $100,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds.

“The flat mile and short stretch, and a similar racing surface, we thought all would suit her,” Calhoun said of Grandacious.

Jesse Campbell will be in to ride the filly, who might get an ideal stalking trip from post 3.

Jazzin’ Okie can be closer to the pace than she found herself last time, when she closed fast for a head win in an optional $100,000 claimer at a mile at Remington Park on Dec. 11. Cliff Berry has the mount for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.