03/26/2014 4:13PM

Gulfstream Park: In Tune stepping up for Pletcher in Oaks

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Admiral Kitten wins the Grade 3 John Connally Turf Cup to begin his 4-year-old season.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – It speaks to the depth of his roster of 3-year-old fillies that trainer Todd Pletcher could lose two of his top prospects and still have several contenders for the Kentucky Oaks, a race he won last year with Princess of Sylmar.

In Tune, the winner of her first two starts here this winter, will try to punch her ticket to the Oaks when she makes her stakes debut against seven rivals in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Gulfstream Oaks. The Gulfstream Oaks is one of seven undercard stakes on the 14-race program highlighted by the $1 million Florida Derby.

Pletcher, who won the Gulfstream Oaks last year with Dreaming of Julia, was pointing the undefeated multiple graded stakes winner Onlyforyou to this race. That filly suffered fatal injuries while galloping out after a workout. Another undefeated Pletcher-trained filly, Dame Dorothy, is sidelined with a shin issue.

In Tune, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, is 2 for 2, winning a maiden race sprinting and an allowance race going long.

“She’s one of those versatile enough to do about anything, but I thought her route win was very impressive,” Pletcher said. “The Gulfstream Oaks was always one of our options after she won the one-other-than. She’s continued to train well. It doesn’t make us feel any better about Onlyforyou.”

[Florida Derby Day: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

In Tune drew post 6 in a field of eight that includes House Rules, the runner-up to Onlyforyou in the Davona Dale, and Joint Return, a winner of three straight, including the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct. America, Penwith, Camille Claudel, Whomping Willow, and Holiday Magic complete the field.

Admiral Kitten tops Pan American

Admiral Kitten, the winner of last year’s Grade 1 Secretariat, tops a field of 11 entered for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Pan American Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Admiral Kitten kicked off his 4-year-old season with a victory in the Grade 3 John Connally Turf Cup at Sam Houston.

Admiral Kitten will break from post 5 under Julien Leparoux. Admiral Kitten is one of three horses entered by Ken Ramsey. Joes Blazing Aaron and Charming Kitten are the other two.

Trainer Bill Mott entered three: Slumber, Amira’s Prince, and Newsdad.

The others entered are Vertiformer, Suntracer, Joha, Russian Greek, and Ocean Seven.

In other stakes:

◗ Inimitable Romanee seeks her third consecutive victory when she heads a field of nine entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Orchid Stakes. Inimitable Romanee won the Long Island last fall and The Very One last month.
Trainer Christophe Clement entered both Aigue Marine and Antonia Autumn. Anjaz, Stick to Your Guns, Caroline Thomas, Viva Rafael, Clearbrook, and Hunter Forward complete the field.

◗ Devil’s Cave, who set a track record for 1 1/16 miles when she won the Grade 2 Sabin last out, tops a field of eight entered in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rampart Stakes.

Unlimited Budget, a multiple stakes-winning 3-year-old filly, will try to end a four-race losing streak in this race. Others entered include Oasis at Midnight, Triple Arch, Molly Morgan, Private Ensign, Gamay Noir, and Call Pat.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

◗ Mr. Online and Salto, the second- and third-place finishers behind Reload in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap, top a field of 10 horses entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Appleton Stakes at a mile.

Five Iron, the winner of the Toronto Cup and Grade 3 Saranac, makes his seasonal debut in this spot.
Csaba and Catron were entered as main-track-only entrants.

◗ Nevada Kid seeks his third win of the meet in the Grade 3, $100,000 Skip Away Stakes against a field that includes War Dancer, Csaba, Norumbega, and Micromanage.

◗ Ribo Bobo, a winner of 12 of his last 13 starts, tops a field of 10 entered in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes at six furlongs.