01/29/2013 4:49PM

Oaklawn Park: Goldrush Girl returns to dirt, may get the pace setup she needs


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Goldrush Girl will make a key surface switch at Oaklawn Park on Thursday when she moves back to dirt for a second-level allowance at a mile. The field of eight fillies and mares also includes Lady Jensen, a two-time restricted stakes winner this fall at Remington Park, and Songs and Sonnets, a daughter of the multiple Grade 3-winning racemare Bedanken.

Goldrush Girl is making her first start since Nov. 25, when she was third in a second-level allowance at a mile and an eighth on the grass at Churchill Downs. It was a rare turf start for the filly, who as a 2-year-old in 2011 ran second in the Grade  2 Golden Rod on the main track at Churchill.

“I think she definitely wants to be on the dirt,” said Ken McPeek, who trains Goldrush Girl. “She had some races where we didn’t have any options and we ran her on turf, and she ran respectable.

“It will be interesting to see how she handles the [local] track. In her training up to this point, I’m pretty optimistic.”

Goldrush Girl shows a steady series of works at Oaklawn, where McPeek has a division. She will be seeking her third career win Thursday, behind a maiden special weight score on Polytrack at Keeneland in October 2011 and a first-level allowance on the main track at Gulfstream Park last March. Goldrush Girl will break from post 8, under jockey Victor Lebron.

“She gallops the first part of it and makes a run late,” said McPeek. “I do think she needs a bit of pace in the race, but that’s out of our hands.”

Amazing Shoes, making her first start since taking a one-turn mile allowance at Churchill on the front end last May, and Lady Jensen, who is stretching out off a win at seven furlongs in the $50,000 Useeit at Remington, could make for some honest fractions. Another who could contribute to the pace is Demure Halo, who is making her first start since an August race at Del Mar.

Goldrush Girl, owned by the partnership of Smoke and Mirrors Racing Stable and Magdalena Racing, is by Political Force. Her dam is Chasethegold, a Grade 3-placed winner and a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Albertus Maximus.

Songs and Sonnets’s dam, Bedanken, won the 2002 Honeybee at Oaklawn, one of four Grade 3 wins during a career in which she earned more than $500,000. Songs and Sonnetts is a 4-year-old by Unbridled’s Song. She races for Pin Oak Stable and is trained by Donnie Von Hemel, the same connections that were behind Bedanken.