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Kentucky Oaks contenders: Pedigree profiles
A strong field of 11 fillies will contest the Grade 1, $1 million Kentucky Oaks Friday at Churchill Downs.
“It’s all pretty darn scary from where I’m standing,” trainer Sal Santoro, who will send out multiple graded stakes winner Rose to Gold, said of the depth of the field, which is headed by morning-line favorite Dreaming of Julia.
Below is a closer look at the individual pedigrees and backgrounds of this year's Kentucky Oaks entrants, in post position order.
Silsita, gr. or ro., f., Macho Uno—Naturally Wild, by Wild Again
Breeder: Tanourin Stable (Fl.)
Silsita arrives in Louisville off of one of the most exciting Oaks preps of the year on March 23, when she nipped Marathon Lady by a nose in the one-mile Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park, her stakes debut. Co-owned by breeder Tanourin Stable and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Silsita has won half of her four starts, and broke her maiden at Calder last November going 1 1/16 miles.
Silsita is by Adena Springs stallion Macho Uno, who received the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2000 and has become a dependable and productive stallion since retiring to Adena Springs. He initially stood at Frank Stronach’s Florida division before moving to Adena Kentucky in 2008; he stands for $20,000 in 2013.
A 15-year-old son of Holy Bull, Macho Uno has produced several top-line runners, including contemporary standout Mucho Macho Man, second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, and 2009 Stephen Foster winner Macho Again, who may best be remembered as the close runner-up to Rachel Alexandra in that year’s historic Woodward at Saratoga.
Silsita is out of the stakes-placed Wild Again mare Naturally Wild and is from the family of multiple stakes winner Nat’s Lea.
Midnight Lucky, gr. or ro., f., Midnight Lute - Citiview, by CitidancerBreeders: Dr. Charles Kidder, Dr. John Griggs, and Linda Griggs (Ky.)
The owner-trainer team of Mike Pegram and Bob Baffert captured the Kentucky Oaks in 1999 with future Hall of Fame filly Silverbulletday. The duo will go for their second Oaks win this weekend with Midnight Lucky, a filly who shares a genetic history with some of their stable's past stars.
Midnight Lucky, impressive winner of the Sunland Oaks in her most recent outing, is from the first crop of Hill 'n' Dale Farm stallion Midnight Lute. Pegram and Baffert campaigned the Eclipse Award winner to back-to-back victories in the Breeders' Cup Sprint in 2007 and 2008. Going back an additional generation, the team also campaigned Midnight Lute's sire, 1998 dual classic winner and champion Real Quiet.
Midnight Lucky is a half-sister to multiple stakes-placed winner Songofthecity. Their dam, the Citidancer mare Citiview, is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Hookedonthefeelin. The latter, in turn, has gone on to produce Grade 1 winners Pussycat Doll and Jimmy Creed; stakes winner Funny Feeling; and stakes-placed winner Blowing Kisses. Pegram and Baffert campaigned Hookedonthefeelin and Pussycat Doll.
Pegram purchased Midnight Lucky for $220,000 out of the Gainesway consignment at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale. He now campaigns the filly in partnership with Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, who also joined forces with Midnight Lute.
Beholder, b., f., Henny Hughes - Leslie's Lady, by Tricky Creek
Breeder: Clarkland Farm (Ky.)
Broodmare Leslie's Lady could have a huge first weekend of May, as her daughter Beholder starts in the Kentucky Oaks and her son Into Mischief is set to be represented by two Kentucky Derby starters from his first crop.
Beholder capped last season with an authoritative victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, sealing her Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. In the process, she became the second Grade 1 winner for Leslie's Lady, a stakes-winning Tricky Creek mare. The first was Into Mischief, who captured the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in 2007. Now standing at B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Ky., Into Mischief finished third on the freshman sire earnings list last year, while leading all North American sires in average earnings per runner. His first crop includes Grade 1 winner Goldencents and Grade 2 winner Vyjack, both set to run in Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
Spendthrift purchased Beholder for $180,000 out of the consignment of breeder Clarkland Farm at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. She heads into the Oaks off of two consecutive Grade 1 wins at Santa Anita.
Unlimited Budget, b., f., Street Sense—Unlimited Pleasure, by Valid Appeal
Breeder: Ocala Stud (Fl.)
Mike Repole’s filly has yet to lose in four starts, winning two at Aqueduct last fall at Aqueduct, including the Grade 2 Demoiselle, and two at Fair Grounds in March, the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra and the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks. By appearances the filly appears to relish a route of ground; she broke her maiden going a mile and turned right back to take the Demoiselle at 1 1/8 miles. Both stakes at Fair Grounds were at 1 1/16 miles.
Repole bought Unlimited Budget for $475,000 at the 2012 OBS March select 2-year-olds in training sale. She was bred in Florida by J. Michael O’Farrell’s Ocala Stud, one of the state’s most successful stud farms, who consigned Unlimited Budget at the OBS sale.
By 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense and out of the stakes-placed Valid Appeal mare Unlimited Pleasure, Unlimited Budget is a half-sister to Grade 3 winners Jardin and Beacon Shine and is from the family of Super Derby winner Outofthebox and Sunshine Millions Classic and Grade 2 winner Tackleberry. Street Sense, by Street Cry, was sold to Darley’s Japan operation in late 2012; he also stands at Darley Australia for the Southern Hemisphere season.
Seaneen Girl, ch., f., Spring At Last—Afternoon Krystal, by Afternoon Deelites
Breeder: John Trumbulovic (Ky.)
Naveed Chowhan’s Seaneen Girl surfaced last November with an upset win in the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill and has only made one start since for trainer Bernie Flint, finishing third to fellow Oaks opponents Unlimited Budget and Flashy Gray in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 30. Prior to her win in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod, the Spring At Last filly had made five starts on Woodbine’s Polytrack, winning once. She was a $5,000 purchase at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall yearling sale by Robert Tiller, who conditioned Seaneen Girl for Chowhan during her first five starts in Canada. John Trumbulovic bred the filly, and she was foaled and raised at Rose Hill Farm in Lexington, Ky.
Seaneen Girl is from the first crop of promising young sire Spring At Last, who stands at WinStar Farm in Versailles, Ky., for $15,000. WinStar is the only farm to stand the sires of two Oaks entrants this year. A Grade 1 winner in the U.S. and a Group 2 winner in Dubai, the 10-year-old son of Silver Deputy was represented by Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly Spring in the Air, Grade 2 winner Spring Venture, and stakes winner A Lover’s Question last year in addition to Seaneen Girl, and ended up ranked second on the North American first-crop sire list.
Out of the winning Afternoon Deelites mare Afternoon Krystal, Seaneen Girl is from the family of multiple Grade 3-placed stakes winner Red Raymond, Italian Group 1 winner Silvernesian, and Japanese Group 3 winner Grace Namura.
Pennsylvania-bred Princess of Sylmar, who runs as a homebred for Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable, is from the first crop of Majestic Warrior, who led both the freshman and juvenile sire lists by winners in 2012.
The Coolmore stallion is a son of leading sire A.P. Indy, who counts Bernardini, Malibu Moon, Mineshaft, Congrats, and the late Pulpit among his most productive sons at stud. The line is known for producing late-developing runners who improve with age and distance. Majestic Warrior, winner of the 2007 Hopeful Stakes, is one of only two colts by A.P. Indy to win a Grade 1 event as a juvenile, along with 2000 Champagne Stakes winner A P Valentine. He is also one of only two sons of the stallion to win a Grade 1 event at less than a mile, along with Darley sire Girolamo.
Princess of Sylmar, a multiple stakes winner who most recently finished second in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes, is the first foal out of Storm Dixie, a stakes-placed, winning daughter of Catienus. Out of the stakes-winning Dixieland Band mare Golden Wave Band, Storm Dixie is a half-sister to Group 3 winner Rhythm Band, Grade 3-placed Musical, and multiple stakes producers Golden Sliver and Poppy's Baby Girl.
Pure Fun, ch., f., Pure Prize - Chelsea Green, by Key to the MintBreeder: Royal Oak Farm LLC (Ky.)
Pure Fun is the latest success story for Damian and Braxton Lynch's Royal Oak Farm of Paris, Ky., becoming the first Grade 1 winner bred by the small but successful operation. The Lynches foaled and raised 2012 Belmont winner Union Rags on their property for owner-breeder Phyllis Wyeth. Other top runners to emerge from the operation include Grade 1 winner Nereid, who was foaled and raised there; and Grade 1 winner Boys at Tosconova, who the Lynches consigned as agent.
Trainer Ken McPeek purchased Pure Fun for $22,000 out of the Royal Oak consignment at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. Competing for McPeek’s Magdalena Racing, she became one of the standout fillies of her crop by winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet Stakes to end her 2-year-old season.
Pure Fun, out of the winning Key to the Mint mare Chelsea Green, is a half-sister to stakes placed Lady Cheyne. Out of the stakes-placed Nice Dancer mare Chelseanna, Chelsea Green is a full sister to stakes-placed Gorky; a half-sister to stakes winner and producer Lady Tap; a half-sister to stakes-placed Golden Spirit; and a half-sister to stakes producers Fleet Chelseanna, Danzig’s Angel, Chelsea Corner, and Chelsey Dancer. The latter's daughters include Grade 1 winner and stakes producer Chelsey Flower.
It is the family of Canadian champions Par Excellance and Scotzanna.
Dreaming of Julia, b., f., A.P. Indy - Dream Rush, by Wild Rush
Breeder: Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (Ky.)
Morning-line favorite Dreaming of Julia, who runs as a homebred for Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Farm, is from the penultimate crop of legendary sire A.P. Indy and could give the stallion, who was pensioned in 2011, a third Kentucky Oaks winner. He was also represented by 2000 heroine Secret Status and 2007 victor Rags to Riches, who went on to defeat Curlin in the Belmont Stakes and earn the divisional Eclipse Award.
Dreaming of Julia is the first foal out of Dream Rush, winner of the Grade 1 Test Stakes and Grade 1 Prioress Stakes along with two other graded stakes events. The Wild Rush mare is a half-sister to two stakes-placed winners.
Stonestreet acquired Dream Rush privately while she was carrying Dreaming of Julia. The outfit bid on the mare when she sold at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale, but she went to Halsey Minor for $3.3 million. Minor raced the mare several more times before breeding her to A.P. Indy and privately selling her to Banke. The mare's first foal is named for one of Banke's daughters.
Rose to Gold, ch., f., Friends Lake—Saucy, by Tabasco Cat
Breeders: Joe Mulholland, Joe Mulholland, Jr., John Mulholland, and Karen Mulholland (Ky.)
Rose to Gold comes into the Oaks on a roll after winning the Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes and Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park, both at 1 1/16 miles, by open lengths. She also took the one-mile Grade 3 Delta Princess Stakes in December of last year. Aside from a 12th place finish in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland Race Course last fall, the Friends Lake filly has finished first or second in every start.
Her sales history is one of the most unique among this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Derby contenders. The filly was purchased as an early yearling by Alexandro Centofamti for only $1,400 at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February mixed sale. Racing for Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofamti, Rose to Gold has earned just under $718,000.
The chestnut filly is out of the unraced Tabasco Cat mare Saucy, who has produced three additional winners. Other family members include multiple graded stakes-placed Sun Cat and European stakes winners El Fabulous, Egalite, and Eternity. Friends Lake, winner of the 2004 Florida Derby, was sold to Saudi Arabian interests in 2010 to stand in that country. The 12-year-old A.P. Indy horse previously stood at Brereton and Libby Jones’ Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky.
Flashy Gray, gr. or ro., f., Flashy Bull - Pleasure Cat, by Cat's Career
Breeder: Brereton C. Jones (Ky.)
Flashy Gray, multiple graded-stakes placed this season, could give breeder Brereton C. Jones a third Kentucky Oaks winner in the last six editions. The owner of Airdrie Stud in Midway, Ky., and former Kentucky governor was also represented by 2008 winner Proud Spell and 2012 winner Believe You Can.
Jones sold Flashy Gray to Dolphus C. Morrison for $45,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. However, the following year, Morrison—best known as the breeder of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra—elected to disperse this Thoroughbred holdings. Shortly following her impressive maiden victory at Churchill Downs, Flashy Gray went through the ring at the 2012 Keeneland November breeding stock sale, with West Point Thoroughbreds going to $775,000 to acquire the filly.
Flashy Gray is from the second crop of Flashy Bull, by Holy Bull, who was campaigned during his career by West Point; the stallion was a Grade 1 winner at Churchill Downs, taking the 2007 Stephen Foster Handicap. She is out of the unraced Cat's Career mare Pleasure Cat.
Close Hatches, dk. b. or br. f., First Defence—Rising Tornado, by Storm Cat
Breeder: Millsec Ltd. (Ky.)
Another filly who enters the Oaks undefeated, Juddmonte Farms’ lightly raced Close Hatches won twice at Gulfstream Park at seven furlongs and 1 1/16 miles before shipping to Aqueduct and easily taking the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes at 1 1/8 miles for trainer Bill Mott. She was bred in Kentucky by Millsec, Ltd., an international outfit managed by Richard Brown of Blandford Bloodstock that has broodmares in England, Ireland, and the U.S.
Close Hatches is from the first crop of Juddmonte stallion First Defence, an 8-year-old Grade 1-winning son of Unbridled’s Song who stands at the Lexington, Ky., branch of Khalid Abdullah’s elite operation for an advertised fee of $7,500. The regally-bred stallion, a Juddmonte homebred, is out of the Grade 1-winning Seattle Slew mare Honest Lady, whose dam, Toussaud, also produced Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker and Grade 1 winners Chester House and Chiselling.
Close Hatches is out of the winning Storm Cat mare Rising Tornado and is from the family of several accomplished European and American horses, most prominently European champion juvenile and sire Xaar, Grade 1 winner and sire Semure, Dubai Duty Free winner Cityscape, and Grade/Group 2 winners Didina, Bated Breath, Permit, Trick of Light, and Domesday.
Close Hatches’ third dam, Group 3 winner Monroe, is a half-sister to 1982 Kentucky Oaks winner Blush With Pride, an accomplished broodmare who later produced Better Than Honour, dam of Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil.
Broodmare sire Storm Cat was euthanized on April 24 at age 30. The breed-shaping stallion led the broodmare sire list last year.