06/28/2012 5:11PM

Iowa Oaks: Top three fillies hard to separate


ALTOONA, Iowa -- Six fillies will tackle the 1 1/16-mile distance in the Grade 3, $200,000 Iowa Oaks and it’s difficult to separate the top three who will vie for favoritism. Kentucky shippers Ice Cream Silence and Uptown Bertie, along with local sensation Tapajo, all carry excellent form into the Oaks.

Ice Cream Silence has won three in a row, including Churchill’s $68,000 Optimistic Gal by five lengths, an effort which impressed her opposition.

Ron Moquett, who trains Iowa Oaks contender Livi Makenzie, said “I’ve run against the top 3-year-old fillies all year, including Contested, and Ice Cream Silence is the best I’ve seen.”

Uptown Bertie, conditioned by Steve Margolis, who brought Iowa Oaks winner Little Miss Holly here last season, belongs in the mix after a tidy one-length score in a June 7 Churchill Downs allowance race at the Iowa Oaks distance. Ridden for the first time by Julien Leparoux, Uptown Bertie will make her stakes debut.

Tapajo won the $60,000 Goldfinch Stakes on opening night, April 20, and has continued to impress since for trainer Steve Asmussen’s team. She added the one-mile, $60,000 Panthers Stakes on June 2, appearing to relish her first try around two turns. Leading jockey Alex Birzer, who is 17 in front with his 65 meet wins, stays aboard.

Supplemented entry Emona, the speedy Livi Makenzie, and West Coast invader Ize in Trouble are all on the grounds in search of an Iowa Oaks upset.