07/17/2005 11:00PM

Shawanda romps in Irish Oaks


Shawanda produced a devastating turn of foot for a handy five-length triumph over Playful Act in the $480,000 Irish Oaks at The Curragh on Sunday.

Shawanda's rider, Christophe Soumillon, put the filly on cruise control on the lead a quarter-mile from home. He pronounced the win "my easiest Group 1 victory."

Bred and owned by the Aga Khan and trained in France by Alain de Royer-Dupre, Shawanda got the 1 1/2 miles on good to firm ground in a quick 2:27.10.

By Sinndar and out of a Darshaan half-sister to Prix Vermeille winner Sharaya, Shawanda has progressed rapidly this season, landing a 1 1/4-mile Chantilly maiden in her second start in April before taking the listed 1 3/8-mile Prix de la Seine and the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 Prix de Royaumont.

On Sunday she defeated a first-rate group of fillies. Playful Act, a Group 1 winner at 2, had recently beaten older fillies in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks. The 4-1 favorite and fifth-place finisher Dash to the Top had beaten older fillies in a listed race last time. Sixth-place Saoire had won the Irish 1000 Guineas, while Thakafaat, who checked in seventh, was coming off a win in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Mona Lisa, whose previous best had been a third in the one-mile, Group 1 Coronation Stakes, was third this time as well, 2 1/2 lengths behind Playful Act.

Royer-Dupre suggested that the 1 1/2- mile Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on Sept. 11 would serve as Shawanda's prep for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 2.

* O'Brien won the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes on Sunday with the Danehill colt Amigoni. With his more highly regarded stablemate Aussie Rules scratched from the six-furlong and 63-yard race because of a stone bruise, Amigoni, sent off at 7-4, prevailed by a half-length over Black Charmer.

O'Brien also won the Anglesey with Johannesburg, One Cool Cat, and Oratorio.