04/20/2012 2:33PM

Woodbine: Hard Not to Like on target for Kentucky Oaks

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Michael Burns
The Woodbine-based filly Hard Not to Like is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs on Tuesday to prepare for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks.

Hard Not to Like, who is headed for the May 4 Kentucky Oaks, breezed four furlongs in 52.20 seconds on the dirt training track at Woodbine on Friday morning.

“She went a very easy half,” said Gail Cox, who trains Hard Not to Like and was in the irons for the exercise. “I was going to two-minute lick her, but that’s very hard to do with her. She was extremely hard to pull up.”

Hard Not to Like, owned and bred by Garland Williamson, is coming off a second-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, a 1 1/16 mile-race on April 7 which was her first attempt on Polytrack.

As a 2-year-old, Hard Not to Like won 3 of 5 starts here with two of her victories coming over males in an open allowance race and in the Cup and Saucer Stakes.

“Last year she breezed only on Poly and raced only on turf,” said Cox. “This winter, at Payson Park, she breezed only on dirt. We sort of think she’ll handle any surface.”

Hard Not to Like, who continued north to Woodbine two days after the Ashland, is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Tuesday.

Robby Albarado, who rode Hard Not to Like for the first time in the Ashland, retains the mount for the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks, which offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million.

Hard Not to Like is nominated to both the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 3 and the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate on June 24.

Star Shoot runners-up point to Fury

The only stakes race here next weekend will be the $150,000 Fury, a seven-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 3-year-old fillies which has been an important stepping-stone to the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks.

Candidates for the Fury include Casa Loma and Logan’s Peak, the two-three finishers in the six-furlong Star Shoot here April 14.

Stakes winners Northern Passion, Rose and Shine, Dene Court, and Kitty’s Got Class also are expected to participate.