02/27/2013 4:08PM

Oaklawn Park: Canticle gets first shot at two turns


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Canticle will be making her two-turn debut in Friday’s ninth race at Oaklawn, and if the 3-year-old filly gets the trip, she could become a candidate for next month’s $75,000 Instant Racing, trainer Chris Hartman said.

The ninth race is one of two $62,500 optional claimers on the card for 3-year-old fillies. It will be run over 1  1/16 miles, while the other race, the eighth, is at six furlongs.

Canticle won a maiden special weight at 5 1/2 furlongs at Oaklawn in her last start Jan. 31. She won by 4 1/2 lengths, and the Beyer Speed Figure of 72 that she earned is the best career number in Friday’s field. The win came at a distance that figures to prove less than optimum for Canticle.

“I think she’s going to handle the two turns perfectly fine . . . it may really be her game,” Hartman said.

Canticle is a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, the Florida Derby, and the Wood Memorial. Her dam, the unraced Palais Versailles, is a half-sister to George Vancouver, winner of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Saarland, winner of the 2001 Remsen.

Canticle will break from post 7, under jockey Cliff Berry.

“If she’ll take the two turns, the Instant Racing would probably be a good spot for her,” Hartman said of the one-mile stakes at Oaklawn on April 12.

Canticle races for Craig Drago.

Also set to start is Kay Ellen. She is proven at two turns, having won her debut at the trip in a maiden special weight at Sam Houston in her last start Jan. 20. Kay Ellen drew clear by six lengths for owner-breeder Stonestreet Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen. She is a daughter of Tiznow, while her dam, River’s Prayer, was the 2007 winner of the Grade 1 Princess Rooney. Robby Albarado has the mount from post 8.

In the eighth, Asmussen will send out leading contender Regal Joanne for Zayat Stables. She was a troubled third last out, and Friday’s start will be her third since her Saratoga debut in July.