The GP Oaks- Grade II
GP Race 7 1 1/16M Dirt
Purse $250.000 For Fillies
Three Years Old
With a lot of the top contenders deciding to run last weekend in the FG and SUN Oaks this race has come up a bit on the light side. Mb does have his regular complement of three runners and there are others that have interesting angles to examine but, minus a couple of exceptions, these are not the top fillies in this class. That being said there are a lot of valuable Kentucky Oaks points at stake here so let’s figure out who is going to get them.
1 Fascinating Gyal, trained by Night Rider Stables
Her only two wins have come in California state bred sprints and her ventures outside of those races have not gone well. Her only two attempts at routing saw her drop to the back of the pack and attempt to rally so she will be hoping for a fast pace to run into that I am not sure she will get. She seems a tad slower than several other in here, so I will not be backing her at the window.
2 Celtic General, trained by Axeman
Making her first appearance on the Oaks trail after winning a $32.000 claimer last out. She only ran against 3 competitors in that affair and the time was not very good, so I am not sure how much we can gleam from that effort. Her works are slower than the vast majority of the other entrants thus I have to label her a long shot today.
3 Fear The Greatness, trained by First Class Stable
This filly was considered by many to be the favorite for the BC Juvenile Filly after she reeled off three consecutive wins capped off by the Grade 2 Pocahontas. While she did not win that day, she ran very well to be third and looked poised to be a major player on the 3 yo filly scene. Things have not gone as planned however and she has failed to hit the board in three races since her BC appearance. If her trainer can get her to harness some of her early speed I still think she can be a contender but that has proved difficult in her recent efforts.
4 On The Square, trained by Crocker Ggs
When the post draw was revealed for this race I must imagine Crocker Ggs was very relieved as this filly has drawn 9,11,8 in her last three outings. While running from those difficult posts she has still managed very impressive finishes against top notch competition including a win in the Busanda. Currently has 22 points so even a 2nd pace finish probably secures her a spot in the big race. Her works are on par with the other top contenders and I think she has a big chance to get home first.
5 Beat To The Punch, trained by Mb Stables
We finally get to the first of Mb’s entries and it looks to be his best. She has a very impressive resume with five wins and three seconds from nine starts with the majority coming in graded events. Her last race was the Grade 2 Davona Dale on this very track where she was an impressive winner. Her running style of sitting just behind the pace lends itself to a lot of success in these big races and she must be considered the favorite.
6 Quakerce, trained by Sir Daniel Martin
Has spent almost her entire career on the turf where she has experienced some tremendous success most notably winning the BC Juvenile Filly Turf. Came off a four-month layoff and ran a bit of a dull fourth in the FL Oaks three weeks ago which probably knocked the rust off. Hard to count her out with the success she has had but I will need to see her prove it on the dirt before I can endorse.
7 Home Cookin, trained by Mb Stables
The second entry from Mb is this lightly raced filly that has only gone to the post four times. Her most recent effort was a good third to Beat To The Punch in the Davona Dale where she dropped to the back and rallied strongly in the stretch. She fits the profile of many of the horses that Mb has success with in these preps so will be a major player.
8 Sweeping Slew, trained by Toppedout
Well it would not be a prep if we did not have an entry from the Toppedout stable as this filly has already tried her luck in four of them to go with her 16 lifetime starts. She has not had a lot of success in her efforts this year and I see little reason why that will change today. She tends to go to the front when she draws outside so I do imagine that she will be out front for three quarters of a mile or so.
9 Harsh, trained by Mb Stables
Final entrant in the race and final entry from Mb is his least accomplished runner. Has yet to win a race other than her maiden score despite being sent off as the favorite a couple of times. Never really embarrasses herself but also never really looks like a serious threat to win so when coupled with the far outside post probably not a top 3 pick.
Unless Fear The Greatness can find some of her old form or Quakerce takes to the dirt extremely well this looks like a two horse race to me. I think Sweeping Slew and Fear The Greatness will set an honest pace while On The Square and Beat To The Punch track closely behind. With the big improvement in post I am going to select On The Square to prevail in a close finish over Beat To The Punch with Home Cookin rallying to be third.