Queenwood Reigns At OP

The Fantasy (Grade 3) (KYO)- $400.000 Purse
OP- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
April 14, 2017

Queenwood will be wishing she could race more at OP, but will surely not mind that her next start figures to be the KYO by virtue of this impressive looking win the Grade 3 Fantasy.   In a race where many were entered in desperate need of the 100 points for the big race that this stake offered, Queenwood was already pretty comfortable with her status on the leaderboard.   By winning this race, she now sits ahead of everyone else with 160 points and can now be considered one of the favorites for the Oaks next month.  She achieved this level of success by never leaving OP this fall, as well.  Her three race winning streak started here in the Marsha Washington in February, and then she would win the Grade 3 Honeybee last month prior to this race, so we can that she swept up this track!   It is the first win in the stake for trainer Smokey Stover, and the same holds true for the jockey, J R Velazquez.  Congratulations to them!  The time of the victory was 1:42.04, the third quickest in its history.  Here’s how it played out!

(1/4 Mile- :23.76)- No one seemed to be particularly shot out of the gate, but as we made the way into the first turn, it would be Viking Libra taking the early lead for Delta Farms, with Killer Angels, from TwinTowersRacing, challenging her to the inside by about half a length, and she would take the lead soon after hitting this fraction.   Behind them, we did not see much early urgency.  Toleration (Mb Stables) was third and two lengths back, with Komodo Freestlye (John Henry) nearly even with her.  Between them, and about three and a half from the lead was our eventual winner, Queenwood (Smokey Stover).   Her lane was unobstructed at this time, and J R Velazquez seemed to just want to keep her out of trouble at this stage.   To her inside, were stablemate Seven Cedars as well as Tunn Up (John Henry).  Trailing the field and running three wide between them Scaredy Cat (Mb Stables), Chase (D J C Racing Stables), and Duggu Duggu (M.b.o. Racing Stable).

(½ Mile- :47.48)- Taking over the lead moving into the backstretch was Killer Angels, but she did not really look to do anything with it, and as we ran down the backstretch, it seemed as though she was content with matching strides with Viking Libra.  Inching forward at this point was Komodo Freestyle from the third lane and she would end up being within a length of the frontrunners.  Certainly, it seemed like she was looking good at this point.  Toleration continued to ride the rail and M E Smith began to search for his best option to move forward and to not end up boxed in.  Queenwood maintained a steady cruising speed down the backstretch and did not look to move at the same time that Komodo Freestyle.  As the field moved into the turn, she showed her intent to advance, though it was going to require coming down hard on Duggu Duggu, it seemed.  That one had moved up nicely as well, clearing the trailers and looking good into the turn.  Seven Cedars and Tunn Up were still waiting for their perfect time to strike, and neither Chase or Scaredy Cat were showing much.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.5F to go)- Viking Libra answered the challenges very nicely in the turn, turning away Killer Angels and Komodo Freestyle was also beginning to fall off.   Her lead became a length.  Killer Angels was still second here but was clearly about to fall back into the clutches of the field.  Toleration maintained her consistent stride over the course of the race and was preparing to move into second, but would need a little more, it seemed, to catch Viking Libra.  Duggu Duggu had a good run around the turn, and the 83/1 longshot was getting those who bet on her very excited for this brief moment.  Queenwood, even at this point, did not seem like the horse that was about to win the race.  She was seventh, and while she was not losing ground, she was not gaining any either, and it seemed like a couple others were going to be a little better.  However, the good news for her was that she still had a clear lane in front of her, so she would be able to show off her powerful stretch stride.  Elsewhere, Tunn Up showed a little more life on exit of the turn, and Chase made a wide sweeping move heading into the stretch. Seven Cedars stayed along the rail, which proved to be a good thing for her, as it was also clear.  Scardey Cat did not seem to have anything at this point.

Finish (1:42.04)- With a furlong to go Queenwood still had two lengths to make up, and it did not seem as though that run was going to come.  Then, with a half furlong to go, she simply exploded.  The way she kicked it in to an additional gear in those final moments was very impressive, and I encourage anyone who may not have watched this race to fire it up simply to watch how she ran late.   She clearly knows how to win at this racetrack, and if she does this in the stretch at the KYO, it will spell trouble for everyone else.  The runner up Toleration did all she could.  She thought her stretch battle was with Viking Libra, and the two of them battled well with one another as Queenwood flew on by.  Toleration takes second by a neck, and Viking Libra was good in her third place run.  Behind them, one of those classic HRP blanket 6-wide finishes for fourth that ended up placing in this order: Tunn Up, Seven Cedars, Scardey Cat, Chase, Killer Angels, and Duggu Duggu.  They would leave Komodo Freestyle behind.

About the winner: Queenwood, ridden to victory by J R Velazquez,  is a three year old filly by Steel Fox and out of Blame My Mind.  She was bred in California by Marcus White as a yearling and acquired by current trainer Smokey Stover when she was still unraced in private sales for $16.670. That has certainly paid off well!  She has won six out of nine career races, two of which are graded stakes, and she is 3-for-3 at OP, and also 3-for-3 going a mile or more.  Her career earnings now sit at $543.440.

KYO Point Picture:

Queenwood will certainly be there with her 160 points, and based on this race and the stretch desire displayed, you have to consider her to be one of the favorites, if not the horse to beat.

Toleration’s 50 points have her in a comfortable 13th spot in the standings, but she is 6th amongst Mb Stables horses.  Unfortunately, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me here, I believe it is a disservice to the KYO that so many top fillies will miss out on the race because of the restrictions imposed on Mb’s stable.

Viking Libra is 18th with 43 points, but is not really on the bubble due to choices that Mb will have to make.  Delta Farms will just hope that Mb doesn’t have some kind of mass-sale of his other contenders.

Tunn Up is 28th, and would seem out of it, but I would enter her just in case, if I wanted her in the race.  A lot of Mb fillies ahead of her and you never know if she may sneak in to the field.

Everyone else will be racing elsewhere next month.  That’s all for KYO prep race season.  Time flies, next stop for these fillies is the big race.  Good luck to all!

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Queenwood Smokey Stover Velazquez J R 5.20   13/4 1:42.04 — 
  Toleration Mb Stables Smith M E 5.00   21/4 1:42.19 — 
  Viking Libra Delta Farms Albarado R J 6.25   33/4 1:42.28 — 
  Tunn Up John Henry Rocco J S Jr 4.90   4hd 1:42.44 — 
  Seven Cedars Smokey Stover Hernandez J J 14.15   5nk 1:42.48 — 
  Scaredy Cat Mb Stables Stevens G L 8.30   6hd 1:42.55 — 
  Chase D J C Racing Stables Castellano J J 440.85   7hd 1:42.59 — 
  Killer Angels TwinTowersRacing Leparoux J R 3.50   8nk 1:42.62 — 
  Duggu Duggu M.b.o. Racing Stable Ortiz J L 83.15   92 1:42.69 — 
  Komodo Freestyle John Henry Bejarano R 6.40   10 1:43.13 — 

Track: Fast

Time: :233  :472  1:11   1:42

$2 Mutuel Prices:

6 – Queenwood 12.40 6.50 4.50
3 – Toleration   5.80 4.20
5 – Viking Libra     4.70

$1 Exacta: 6 – 3 Paid 35.50

$1 Trifecta: 6 – 3 – 5 Paid 716.90

Scratched: None

Winner Picked by NS

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

%d bloggers like this: