10/20/2010 3:07PM

Pleasant Storm in tip-top shape for Oklahoma Classic

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Dustin Orona Photography
Pleasant Storm prepped for the Oklahoma Classics Night Classic by winning an allowance last month at Remington Park.

Trainer Joe Petalino doesn’t have to speak much for Pleasant Storm heading into Friday night’s $175,000 Oklahoma Classics Night Classic at Remington Park. The horse said all he needed to say about the race a week and a half ago, when he worked six furlongs in a dazzling 1:11.

“He worked with two other horses, he needs something to run at, and he worked good,” said Petalino.

The Classic, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up bred in Oklahoma, is the featured event on the $1 million Oklahoma Classics Night program. The card is made up of eight divisional stakes and will be the richest Thoroughbred program ever run in Oklahoma.

Pleasant Storm had been under consideration for a start in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby on Oct 10 after winning the allowance prep for the race on Sept. 18 in his first out since March. But ultimately, his connections passed on the Oklahoma Derby and targeted the Classic.

“He’s got a lot of time between races here, and that’s what he needed,” said Petalino, who trains Pleasant Storm for his breeder, Vickie Fixley. “He didn’t need to come into the derby off that one race. It was back too quick for him. It kind of took a little out of him that first race back.”

Pleasant Storm rallied from next to last to win the Sept. 18 allowance. He made a five-wide move to get the job done, winning by a half-length under regular rider Bryan McNeil. It was Pleasant Storm’s third win at Remington from as many starts at the track, with his other victories coming last meet, in the Oklahoma Classics Juvenile and a maiden special weight. He will break from post 4 in a field of 10.

Peach Brew seeks repeat in Distaff

Peach Brew could have gone in a handful of different stakes on Classics Night, but will be defending her title in the $145,000 Distaff. She won the one-mile and 70-yard race as a 3-year-old last season, and enters this year’s running off a close fourth-place finish in the $125,000 DeBartolo at Remington on Sept. 6. It was her first race since July.

“I thought it was a good effort, against the boys on the turf,” said Donnie Von Hemel, who trains Peach Brew. “She was closing ground and I thought it was a good warm-up for Classics Night.”

Quincy Hamilton has the mount on Peach Brew, who last year won the Grade 3 Arlington Park Oaks.

Strong cast in Juvenile Fillies

Von Hemel and trainer Bret Calhoun account for four of the nine 2-year-old fillies entered in the first stakes of the night, the $90,000 Lassie. Larue Lovelake should get good support as she returns to dirt after finishing off the board in the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie on Polytrack at Arlington.

“I think probably the dirt will be good for her,” Von Hemel said. “She won on the dirt at Prairie Meadows and was second in a stakes at Prairie Meadows. I think maybe the distance will be better for her, too.”

Larue Lovelake will be cutting back from a mile to six furlongs for the Lassie.

The Calhoun-trained entry of Miss Kipling and Dream Royal are returning to racing against fillies on Friday.

“We had to run against the boys in an allowance to get a prep race for this,” Calhoun said. “There won’t be any open 2-year-old colts in there, so I think they’ll fit well.”

◗ In other action, Smiles Ahead is a standout in the $90,000 Juvenile, while Skedee, a supplemental entry, is the one to beat in the $130,000 Filly and Mare Turf.

◗ The sprint divisions are strong, with multiple stakes winners Miranda Diane and Shotgun Gulch meeting for the first time in the $130,000 Filly Sprint. The 10-year-old Herecomesthemannow will defend his title in the $130,000 Sprint.

◗ Strategic Leader defends his title in the $130,000 Turf.