02/07/2013 4:09PM

Oaklawn: Rose to Gold heads Martha Washington with Kentucky Oaks the goal

Coady Photography
Rose to Gold was freshened following her November victory in the Delta Downs Princess.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Rose to Gold begins her path toward the Kentucky Oaks Saturday, when she launches her 3-year-old season in the $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park. The one-mile race, which will end at the sixteenth pole, drew nine including Broken Spell, the runner-up in last year’s Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland; American Sugar, a three-time stakes winner; and Liberty Girl, a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Ruler On Ice.

The Martha Washington is worth 10 points to the winner on a new system governing Oaks preference if the race is oversubscribed. Rose to Gold ranks eighth in points, courtesy of the 10 she earned for winning the Grade 3, $500,000 Delta Downs Princess in her last start Nov. 17. The quest for more points is one reason she was shipped in from Calder for the local 3-year-old filly series, which also includes the Grade 3, $150,000 Honeybee on March 9 and the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy on April 10.

Rose to Gold arrived at Oaklawn on Jan. 28, and has had a chance to breeze over the track, going a half-mile in 48 seconds Feb. 2. She will be seeking to remain perfect on dirt, having won all three of her starts on such a surface, including a 13-length romp in the $61,000 Lindsay Frolic at Calder in her career debut last August.

“We wanted to get up here early, give her a chance to get acclimated to the surface, her surroundings,” said Sal Santoro, who trains Rose to Gold for Kathleen Amaya and her son Raffael Centofanti. “We wanted to give her a chance to have one good move over the track so the surface didn’t come as a surprise to her . . . or to me.”

Santoro said Oaklawn’s surface is another reason the local path was chosen for Rose to Gold.

“I asked around and a lot of people said the surface here is comparable to Churchill Downs,” he said, referring to the track where the Kentucky Oaks will be run May 3.

Santoro said Rose to Gold was freshened following the Princess, a race she won by a half-length over Touch Magic, who came back in her next start to win the $125,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds. Rose to Gold, meanwhile, has been prepping for her return with a series of strong works, mostly at Calder

“I’m pleased with all the circumstances leading up to the race,” said Santoro.

And so is Rose to Gold, as long as Santoro’s stable star gets one thing in her evening feed: olive oil. “Not only am I her trainer, I’m her personal chef,” he said. “I haven’t made her any linguini yet, and I don’t think I’m going to get to that point!”

Juan Leyva has the mount.

American Sugar was a seven-length winner of the $60,000 Dixie Belle at Oaklawn in her last start Jan. 20. She will be seeking her first win at a two-turn mile, a distance at which she ran third against males in a Prairie Meadows stakes in August, and fourth in an overnight stakes at Remington Park in December.

“I think she’ll handle it,” trainer Lynn Chleborad said. “When she ran the mile at Remington Park she was in the 12 hole and had such a wide trip. She still ran fourth, and was only beaten three and a half lengths.”

Alex Birzer has the mount for Poindexter Thoroughbreds.