08/11/2011 1:35PM

Monmouth Park: Canadian Mistress tries to extend Jones family monopoly of Monmouth Oaks

Hoofprints Inc.
Strike the Moon, narrowly beaten by heavy favorite St. John's River (7) in last month's Delaware Oaks, is a prime contender in the Monmouth Oaks.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Larry Jones and wife Cindy have combined to win the last three editions of the Grade 3, $150,000 Monmouth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.

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They will try to extend that streak to four with Canadian Mistress on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

As Larry Jones surveys the Oaks field, he sees a very competitive contest among 11 fillies in the 1 1/16- mile race.

“There are a lot of horses in here in the same situation,” Jones said. “Their speed figures are about the same and they all look like they’re sitting on very big races. They’re young in their game and a potential star could show up here.”

The filly closest to stardom is Strike the Moon, who missed by only a head in her first route effort, the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

Trainer Michael Trombetta is still haunted by that loss.

“It was horrible,” Trombetta said. “St. John's River came six or seven wide and she whacked me right down on the money. I had a TV in front of me and watching it on the TV, I felt I couldn’t lose. When I looked down the stretch I said ‘Oh-no’.”

As for this race, Trombetta expects his filly, breaking from the rail, to play a prominent role right from the start.

“This race has got a bit of speed in it but we’ll be making a case for ourselves early.”

The Delaware Oaks was her first two-turn effort.

Canadian Mistress also benefited from more distance. Since stretching out, she has won two in a row: a 21 1/2-length maiden win at Delaware Park and a sharp first-level allowance win at Monmouth.

“To come back and beat winners off the maiden win was a big accomplishment,” Jones said. “Two turns made a huge difference in her. It was the same thing with No Such Word, who we won the Monmouth Oaks with last year.”

Trying to extend the Oaks winning streak was no small matter.

“We hated to think about not being in there to defend the title,” Jones said. “So we’re coming in there with this one.”

Canadian Mistress, like No Such Word, is a homebred daughter of Canadian Frontier for former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones. This will be her first stakes appearance.

In addition to Strike the Moon, several fillies in here have stakes experience, including the first three finishers from the Serena’s Song, the Oaks prep: Miss Valentine, Withgreatpleasure, and Coco Ecolo.

The Serena’s Song was the first open victory for the New York-bred Miss Valentine, who is trained by Christophe Clement.

“It’s not an easy race. There are five horses who are better than the rest, she’s one of them,’’ Clement said of his filly. “If she’s not better than the other four, she’s as good as them; it’s whoever gets the best trip.”

Todd Pletcher sends out two uncoupled stablemates: Savvy Supreme and Dance Quietly, fourth in the Delaware Oaks.

“I was hoping there wouldn’t be quite this many in there but we’ll give Savvy Supreme the try on the stretch-out,’’ Pletcher said. “Dance Quietly has accomplished a lot in her career with the exception of graded black type so we’ll give it a whirl.’’

My Sunshine Gal, Marvel Gaye, Marion Ravenwood, and Daring Reality complete the field.

◗ Suzzona, a 7-year-old veteran of the turf sprint wars, goes for her 20th career win in the $65,000 Candy Éclair for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs. Most recently, Suzzona rallied to get third in the $100,000 Jenny Wade Handicap over soft ground at Penn National.

– additional reporting by David Grening