08/13/2009 12:00AM

No Flies on Doodle has only 3 to beat

Email

AUBURN, Wash. - Whether by injuries or ineffectiveness, the list of stakes-caliber 3-year-old fillies at Emerald Downs has narrowed to a precious few. Only four horses are scheduled to start Saturday in the track's presumptive division championship, the $75,000 Washington Oaks at nine furlongs.

No Flies on Doodle, a front-running winner of the 1 1/16-mile Washington's Lottery Handicap in her last start, and Point of Reference, who finished a fast-closing second in the same race following a three-month layoff, figure to dominate the wagering. Crocodile Tuff, an improving filly who would seem to relish the distance, has an outside shot. The other entry, Lucy Got Lucky, has yet to win her maiden.

Five-time stakes winner Ladyledue will miss the Oaks because of bruised feet, trainer Bonnie Jenne said Thursday. Also sitting out is Seeking Ema, a talented Doris Harwood-trained runner who has yet to win but has been stakes placed three times. The division lost one of its rising stars Sunday when Where I Belong, also trained by Harwood, broke down in a workout while preparing for the Oaks.

With Ladyledue on the sideline, No Flies on Doodle figures to control the pace. Unraced at 2, the Vann Belvoir-trained filly won a $12,500 maiden claimer in her racing debut in April and quickly climbed the class ladder while finishing first or second in each of her five starts. She got away at 7-1 in the Washington's Lottery Handicap but looms a short-priced favorite in the Oaks. Owned by Keith Swagerty's Swag Stables, she'll be ridden by Gallyn Mitchell.

Point of Reference finished second, a nose behind Will O Way, in the $100,000 California Oaks at Golden Gate in January. That was her first try around two turns, and subsequent route efforts yielded an allowance victory, a third in the Golden Poppy Stakes, and a second in the Washington's Lottery in her Emerald debut. Trained by Frank Lucarelli for owners Jack and Ivor Jones, Point of Reference will be ridden by Saul Arias.

Crocodile Tuff finished third behind Ladyledue in the one-mile Irish Day Handicap in June and ran a similar race behind No Flies on Doodle in the Washington's Lottery. Owned by Tim and Sue Spooner, who purchased her privately after four promising sprint efforts in New Mexico, Crocodile Tuff has blossomed since stretching out around two turns, though the pace scenario figures to work against her Saturday. Seth Martinez has the call for trainer Dan Markle.