07/19/2012 1:53PM

Saratoga: Coaching Club American Oaks more than just a two-filly race

Adam Mooshian/NYRA
Zo Impressive (inside), edges out Disposablepleasure in the Mother Goose. Zo Impressive will face another challege from Disposablepleasure in the CCA Oaks.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Zo Impressive and Disposablepleasure separated themselves from the rest of a field that included Acorn winner Contested when they finished one-two in the Grade 1 Mother Goose last month at Belmont Park. But when the two talented 3-year-old fillies meet again in Saturday’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, the race figures to be anything but a two-horse affair.

Joining Zo Impressive and Disposablepleasure in the lineup for the $300,000 CCA Oaks will be In Lingerie, impressive winner of the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan in her last start, and Questing, an English-bred daughter of Hard Spun who ran the race of her life defeating first-level allowance opposition when racing on dirt for only the second time last month at Belmont Park.

[CCA OAKS: News, PPs, and video]

A field of six will go postward in the 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks, a lineup that will be completed by outsiders Yara and Funny Proposition.

Zo Impressive has come a long way in a short time for trainer Tom Albertrani. A Live Oak Plantation homebred daughter of Hard Spun, Zo Impressive did not start until last winter at Gulfstream Park, where she posted a pair of easy victories to launch her career despite racing greenly on both occasions.

Zo Impressive suffered her first defeat when second in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks at the hands of no less an opponent than Grace Hall. She skipped the Kentucky Oaks to await the Grade 1 Acorn, where she again came out second best behind an awesome performance by Contested, before rebounding with her game three-quarter-length decision over Disposablepleasure in the Mother Goose.

“She’d been reluctant to change leads in her earlier races but she changed leads on cue in the Mother Goose and I think that’s just a sign of maturity,” said Albertrani. “She seems like the same horse going into this race as her last one and I’m optimistic that she should be equally as tough to beat again.”

It was the more seasoned Disposablepleasure who did not change leads through the crucial late stages of the Mother Goose after having drawn alongside Zo Impressive entering the stretch. Disposablepleasure, winner of the Grade 2 Demoiselle at 2, has shown steady improvement from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint this season although she remains winless in four starts at 3.

In Lingerie rallied past stablemate Disposablepleasure in early stretch en route to a 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan while making just her fourth career start. Trainer Todd Pletcher than opted to have her skip the Mother Goose so she would be fresh to run twice at Saratoga, in the CCA Oaks and, if all goes well, in the Alabama.

“Both fillies are training really well and I’m looking forward to getting both of them over there on Saturday,” said Pletcher.

Questing survived an early pace challenge before drawing away to post her first victory in four U.S. appearances when returning to the main track and sent a mile on June 24 at Belmont, earning a career-best 105 Beyer in the process. Questing finished fifth despite trouble on the turn in her only other start on dirt, which came in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last fall at Churchill Downs.

“The way she won last time was a little unexpected but she ran fifth in the Breeders’ Cup on the dirt,” said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Questing for Godolphin Racing. “I thought she was probably better on turf so we ran her twice on turf but she didn’t run up to standard so we switched surfaces and it was a ‘wow.’ This is a big step up but if she repeats, she fits. The question is, can she repeat?”

McLaughlin said breaking from the rail should prove an advantage for Questing, who figures to set the pace once again.