08/16/2007 12:00AM

Shampoo up for challenge in Oaks


AUBURN, Wash. - Shampoo will face the sternest test of her career Saturday when she heads a full field of 12 3-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Washington Oaks at 1 1/8 miles.

Trainer Doris Harwood feels she is ready for the challenge.

"She is doing unbelievably well," the trainer said. "She worked with another of my horses on Wednesday, a good work horse, and the rider let out a notch right at the end. She went by that horse so fast it took my breath away. It was just a slow maintenance work - 49.60 for a half-mile - but she showed me everything I wanted to see."

Shampoo, a homebred daughter of Gulch who races for Jerre Paxton's Northwest Farms, will be shooting for her fifth straight stakes win in the Oaks. She has run off wins in the six-furlong U.S. Bank Stakes, the 6 1/2-furlong Federal Way Handicap, the mile Irish Day Handicap, and the Washington's Lottery Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 22. Her latest victory was perhaps her best, as she earned a career high 94 Beyer Speed Figure, and she will be dropping a pound on Saturday under the 120-pound special weight conditions of the Oaks.

Considering her dominance at the meeting, one might have expected few challengers to Shampoo in the Oaks. Instead, she will meet both the largest and most accomplished field of her career.

Heading the opposition is Round Trip Flight, who won the $93,000 Bay Meadows Oaks at 1 1/16 miles when she last raced on dirt April 14. Round Trip Flight, a daughter of Monarchos from the barn of trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, has since raced three times on turf. She was third in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Poppy at Golden Gate before running sixth to Valbenny in the Grade 2 Honeymoon at Hollywood June 9. After a freshening, she returned at Santa Rosa and ran third in the Burbank Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on July 28.

Also shipping in to test Shampoo's mettle is Rivoltella, a daughter of Broken Vow who has made all four of her starts for trainer Richard Matlow in Southern California. Rivoltella was an impressive winner over maiden special weight company going 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood on June 13, but finished sixth against $80,000 optional claimers at the same distance in her lone try against winners on July 22 at Del Mar. Local trainer Tom Wenzel will saddle Rivoltella on Saturday.