02/15/2013 4:11PM

Oaklawn: Lady Diva Ga Ga goes for three in a row in Spring Fever


H OT SPRINGS, Ark. – Lady Diva Ga Ga thinks she owns Oaklawn Park. And at the moment, she does. She has won both of her starts at the meet, and if she captures the $60,000 Spring Fever on Sunday, she would become the winningest horse at the current stand.

Lady Diva Ga Ga is one of six horses at the meet with a 2-for-2 record, tops among all local runners. To take the lead outright, she will have to defeat 11 others in the Spring Fever, a 5 1/2-furlong race for fillies and mares. The field includes Cheery, winner of the $60,000 American Beauty last month at Oaklawn, and Georgie’s Angel, a Grade 3 winner making her first start since November.

Lady Diva Ga Ga has won back-to-back optional claiming sprints at Oaklawn, her first Jan. 17. She rallied from off the pace for a more than four-length win, and for the effort earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 88. One start later, Lady Diva Ga Ga sat close to the lead and rolled by five lengths. The Beyer of 87 that she earned for the Feb. 2 effort is the best last-race number in the Spring Fever.

“She’s doing so well we decided to run,” said Phil Sims, who trains Lady Diva Ga Ga for Nelson McMakin and Fred Dolezal. “She likes it here. She likes this track. She’s so relaxed here and so happy. She thinks it’s her racetrack.”

Lady Diva Ga Ga will be making her stakes debut in the Spring Fever. She will be turning back some in distance, after winning her two local starts at six furlongs.

“It’s a little shorter than we’d like, but she’s doing great and we’re going to see what she can do in there,” Sims said. “She kind of lays pretty close anyway. She likes to lay up in the first flight of horses.”

Jon Court has the mount on Lady Diva Ga Ga, who is a 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate.

Sims has been as hot at Oaklawn as Lady Diva Ga Ga. He is winning races at a 32 percent rate, going 6 for 19 through Thursday. And soon, he plans to bring some fresh horses in from Keeneland.

“We feel blessed with the meet we’re having and hope it continues,” Sims said.

Cheery became a stakes winner in the American Beauty, when she darted to a 1 1/4-length win in the six-furlong race run Jan. 20. Victor Lebron was aboard and has the mount back for trainer Al Stall Jr.