04/04/2012 3:20PM

Oaklawn Park: Prima Donna draws diverse group of shippers

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Tom Keyser
Alydarla comes into the Prima Donna off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Horses who last raced at Aqueduct, Fair Grounds, Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita, and Will Rogers Downs have all landed at Oaklawn Park on Friday for the $75,000 Prima Donna.

The six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies drew a cast of nine that also includes such locals as Grade 3 winner Rocket Twentyone, the stakes-placed Lulu Wong, and razor-sharp debut winner Whobetterthanus.

Alydarla comes into the Prima Donna off a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Cicada at Aqueduct on March 10. She made the trip to Oaklawn from her Ocala, Fla., base for a couple of different reasons, co-owner and trainer James Chapman said.

“She’s due to run, and it’s a 3-year-old filly sprint,” he said. “That’s why we’re going there. We could have run in the Beaumont at Keeneland, but that’s going seven-eighths and that’s kind of pushing the distance. I’m not sure if she wants to go that far. And, if she were to run good at Oaklawn, there’s another [upcoming] race for her in the region at Evangeline Downs.”

Alydarla won a maiden special weight at Saratoga in her third career start last August. She opened her 3-year-old season with a win in a first-level allowance at Gulfstream, and after placing in a sprint stakes there tried graded rivals in the Cicada.

“She ran into a monster, that filly Agave Kiss,” Chapman said. “She’s in a different league. She’s probably the best sprinting filly in the country.”

Alydarla finished nine lengths behind Agave Kiss, who is undefeated in four starts and who won the Cicada with a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

As for Alydarla, she and jockey Ramon Vazquez might get a stalking trip from post 9, behind Storm’s Promise and Whobetterthanus.

The other shippers are Always Here Too, fourth in the Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds; Storm’s Promise, an allowance winner at Will Rogers Downs; Good Deed, a stakes winner at Fair Grounds in December who in her last start was sixth in the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream; and Painted Woman, the third-place finisher in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita.

Rocket Twentyone, winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie last September, will be cutting back to one turn Saturday and adding blinkers. She worked a bullet half-mile in 48.40 seconds in her final prep for the Prima Donna. Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton had her final quarter in 23.20 seconds and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01. Calvin Borel was aboard for the move and has the mount for Frank Fletcher and trainer Tom Howard.