03/03/2012 5:16PM

Laurel: Millionreasonswhy begins quest for Kentucky Oaks by taking Wide Country

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Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club
Millionreasonshy, ridden by Horatio Karamanos, wins the first start of her 3-year-old campaign in the seven-furlong Wide Country.

Millonreasonswhy passed her first test in her quest to win the $1 million Kentucky Oaks two months from now by successfully stretching out to seven furlongs for Saturday’s $77,750 Wide Country Stakes at Laurel Park.

Sent off as the narrow second choice at even money behind 4-5 favorite Dance to Bristol, Millionreasonswhy ($4.20) drew clear in the final sixteenth to score by 1 1/4 lengths while making her first start since mid-August.

Trainer Ignacio Correas said he has plotted out a schedule that will take Millionreasonswhy to New York for the Grade 3 Comely at one mile on April 7, followed by the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race at Churchill Downs on May 4, where she could get a rematch with champion 2-year-old filly My Miss Aurelia. The unbeaten My Miss Aurelia handed Millionreasonswhy her only loss when she prevailed by a neck in the 6 1/2-furlong, Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga 6 ½ months ago.

“I was looking for a race at seven-eighths to start her back,” Correas said when asked why he chose the Wide Country for Millionresaonswhy’s 3-year-old debut. “Winning this race was not a given. I knew that Dance to Bristol was going to be tough cookie to beat.”

Racing over a track that began the day listed as sloppy but was upgraded to good by mid-afternoon, Millionreasonswhy, a daughter of Grand Slam owned by Sagamore Farms, covered the distance in 1:24.08 while winning for the third time in four starts.

“She’s one of a kind,” Correas said. “I’m lucky to have her. If everything goes okay, it will be the Comely next and then the Oaks.”

Jockey Horatio Karamanos said that Correas warned him that Millionreasonswhy may have been a bit short for her comeback.

“The only instructions were to let her relax in the first part, let the filly run. If she gets tired don’t hit her too much," said Karamanos, a native of Argentina who has been friends with countryman Correas for more than 25 years. "She probably needs the race, but she runs like she did not need the race. At the quarter pole I asked her to go and she ran big.”

Dance to Bristol, looking for her third stakes victory after taking an overnight stakes at Aqueduct in December and dominating the six-furlong Marshua  at Laurel at month ago, was easily second best, finishing 12 3/4 lengths in front of third-place Officer’s Holiday. The field was reduced to six by three early scratches.