03/30/2013 4:54PM

Gulfstream Oaks turns into runaway for Dreaming of Julia

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Michael Amoruso
Dreaming of Julia, John Velazquez sitting still, widens to a 21 3/4-length win in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - The Dreaming of Julia who was so dominant in winning the first two starts of her career resurfaced Saturday at Gulfstream Park with a jaw-dropping 21 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks, stamping her as one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks.

Stalking the pacesetter Live Lively - who defeated Dreaming of Julia in the Davona Dale here in February - Dreaming of Julia eased past that rival leaving the three-furlong pole then widened her margin at will through the stretch with jockey John Velazquez barely asking her to run.

Dreaming of Julia, a Stonestreet Stables homebred daughter of Grade 1 winners A.P. Indy and Dream Rush, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.97 and returned $5.20 as the 8-5 favorite.

Live Lively was second by four lengths over Cue the Moon. Kimberly Jean, Emollient and Original Script completed the order of finish.

The win was the fourth from six starts for Dreaming of Julia, who won her debut at Saratoga by 10 1/2 last August and the Meadow Star Stakes by 16 1/4 at Belmont in September. She also showed guts winning the Grade 1 Frizette by a head over My Happy Face in October.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was expecting Dreaming of Julia to improve off the Davona Dale, where she was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Live Lively, but even the five-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer was taken aback.

“I think Live Lively was very good last time," Pletcher said. "I had a lot of respect for her coming in. Emollient is a good filly, seen her run really well. I would have never expected a dominant performance like that. That was pretty impressive.”

Pletcher said he instructed Velazquez not to worry if Live Lively got loose on the lead, but he was happy to see Dreaming of Julia relatively close to Live Lively, who ran fractions of 23.43 seconds for the quarter and 47.18 for the half-mile.

Velazquez said he bided his time before asking Dreaming of Julia to go after Live Lively and was a little worried that his filly made the lead so soon.

“Very impressive,” Velazquez said. “She definitely needed the race last time out. She looked like she was gaining to her last time, this time I put the pressure on a little bit early and she was instantly right there. She was stronger this race. We expected that out of her. I didn’t think she’d get away that easy down the lane, but she did it.”

Pletcher said that in “the old days” he might have considered pointing Dreaming of Julia to the Kentucky Derby, but noted the new points system excludes fillies from running in that race unless they race against males in certain stakes that offered qualifying points.

Dreaming of Julia earned 100 qualifying points for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.