04/27/2013 1:24PM

Kentucky Oaks in the picture for Princess of Sylmar


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The connections of Princess of Sylmar entered the weekend still on the fence about whether to run their 3-year-old filly in Friday’s $1 million Kentucky Oaks.

On Saturday morning, Princess of Sylmar put in her two cents with a solid four-furlong workout in 48.88 seconds at Churchill Downs that seemingly has owner Ed Stanco and trainer Todd Pletcher now leaning toward running in the prestigious race for 3-year-old fillies.

Working in company with the multiple stakes winning 3-year-old filly Fusaichiswonderful, Princess of Sylmar appeared eager approaching the pole, but actually went off in a comfortable 13.33 seconds for the opening eighth. She picked it up from there going the quarter in 25.01 and finishing her last quarter in 23.87 seconds down the lane. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.87.

Princess of Sylmar was on the outside of Fusaichiswonderful, which Pletcher believes made a difference from the work last week when Princess of Sylmar was on the inside of her workmate.

“Princess of Sylmar I thought worked much, much better today,” said Pletcher, who admitted to being disappointed in the filly’s work last week. “For some reason, we’ve seen a few horses on the inside not work as well as they do on the outside. She’s certainly been an example of that.”

Pletcher said he wanted to wait and see how Princess of Sylmar came out of the work in the next day or two before making a final decision. Princess of Sylmar, the dominant winner of the Busher and Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, is coming off a second-place finish to Close Hatches in the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct.

“She’s had some races that I think are good enough to put her in the mix here,” Pletcher said. “At the same time, the Oaks is a very tough race. The Black-Eyed Susan could be an interesting option, so Ed and I will think about it and probably make a decision on Monday.”

Entries for the Oaks are due Tuesday, and a contentious field of 11 is possible, including the Pletcher trainees Dreaming of Julia, Unlimited Budget, and Silsita, all whom worked Saturday.

Dreaming of Julia, the 21 3/4-length winner of the Grade 2 Gulfstream Oaks in her most recent start, went an easy half-mile in 50.89 seconds, going her first quarter in 26.15 and her second quarter in 24.74.

The undefeated three-time graded stakes winner Unlimited Budget, meanwhile, worked a sturdier five furlongs in 59.57 seconds in company with Bourbonette Oaks winner Silsita, who was timed in 1:00.04 for the same distance.

Speaking of Dreaming of Julia, Pletcher said, “She went a tick slower than I wanted her to this morning, but it’s kind of consistent with what she’s been doing. She breaks off in 25 and change, 26, and comes home in 23 and 24. We wanted to control her gallop-out a little today because last week she had a huge gallop-out.”

Pletcher said he was disappointed in Unlimited Budget’s work last week, but once again believes she was back on track being on the outside of Silsita, who may have been compromised by being on the inside.

Flashy Gray, who finished second to Unlimited Budget in the Fair Grounds Oaks, worked five furlongs in 1:01.01 under exercise rider Penny Gardiner. Flashy Gray drew away from her workmate Cost Affective in the final eighth, getting her final quarter in 24.34 seconds.

“I thought she worked quite well,” trainer Bill Mott said. “She’s pretty laid-back. I wanted to get a useful work in her. I told [Gardiner] to let her off the bridle and let her finish up a little bit and see what she does.”

Mott’s other Oaks filly, Close Hatches, had a strong gallop and was scheduled to work Sunday morning.

◗ Beholder, the 2-year-old champion filly who is coming off a victory in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, arrived at Churchill Downs Saturday morning following from a flight from Southern California.

Others expected to enter on Tuesday include Midnight Lucky, Rose to Gold, Pure Fun and Seaneen Girl.