Top Threats in GP Oaks Seem to Start from Outer Half of the Gate

GP Oaks (KYO) (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
GP- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
April 2, 2022

There are many big races this weekend, and one of them is a race that we would probably call the Mb Oaks, as that trainer as simply dominated the GP Oaks recently, winning the race in four of the last five years. He’ll have a great chance to continue that reign over the race, as he fields almost half of the horses in the stake, saddling up three of the eight entered. As appealing at that might be, the best horses in the field might belong to other trainers, so while Mb has numbers, that might end up being all that he has. In 2021, he did have the winner as Soviet Sensation scored the win. She’d end up running ninth in the KYO, and while she is still active and capable, she’s not running in top stakes right now. Who will be the next on the winners board? Let’s meet the eight with a chance!

#1- Clumsy Jean (Night Rider Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- Last month, this filly needed to rebound from a miserable finish in the Busanda, and she would regain her footing. The race was the $75.000 Island Stakes at SUN, and it was just the fourth race of her career. She was second in the race, and does just have one victory. Her works show that she is capable, hence why she is here, but she’s been a bit well, clumsy, at times. The Busanda cannot happen again, and you don’t see many lately winning with her off the pace style.

#2- Viable Tactics (Mb Stables, ridden by D E Centeno)- Looking to become a new player on this scene, as she has just two starts so far. At SA last month, the third quarter two year old broke her maiden with a sharp looking effort and is putting together some good works. It’s a good filly that looks like the type that will be better in the summertime stakes in as far as being a player in this division but she has this shot now and the trainer will be sure to give her viable tactics to make it happen.

#3- Grande Sunset (Mb Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- She is a lot like her stablemate in that she is only making the third start of her career, as a third quarter two year old. Ran last month at a mile on this race track and broke her maiden, winning by two lengths, so she gets to stick around for this one. She also works very well, and have the feeling she is one that is going to especially like it as the distances get longer and longer. This is a name that show up in bigger races down the road, no matter what happens with her here. The sun is only rising on her career right now, and can shine bright if she tops a couple big names here.

#4- State Star (Our Athletes, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This well bred filly will be looking to make her parents proud here in the GP Oaks, and thus far she is meeting expectations, hitting the board in all of her seven starts. Only one of them is a win, however. This will be the first time that she has run more than seven furlongs, but she has handled that distance well and is working good at a mile, so plenty of reason to think she will adapt to that just fine. She’s hasn’t been tested a ton on the track, but in her one stake attempt, she was second in the $200.000 Fern Creek. Expect a strong run from her, but the competition is tough.

#5- League of Legends (Smokey Stover, ridden by E T Baird)- Now, we are moving into some horses that have points on the KYO leaderboard already. For League Of Legends, they came as a result of her second place finish in the Alexandra, putting her 14th overall. She’s third of Smokey Stover’s horses on the list, and he has two within seven spots of her afterward, putting him in great position for the KYO. Overall, League of Legends has won four of seven, and been second twice otherwise. Never seems to run poorly, and that should not start now. This is one of the favorites.

#6- Lailoni (Arindel, ridden by C J Hernandez)- She was the champion of this division as a two year old, winning the BC Juvenile Fillies, and she would cap off her two year old season by winning the Starlet. This year, she has only been racing against the boys, something that a lot of fillies have done this year, but at least with her, her credentials against her own gender backed up taking that chance. Results were hit and miss, and it is good to see her back in a KYO prep, not a KYD one. Her 32 points on the leaderboard doesn’t put her in a safe spot for the KYO, but a top three here, which she should be able to do, is probably enough. Top two, certainly would be.

#7- Perfect Class (Sccj Stables, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- After a successful stretch of races on the grass, winning both the Durante and Sweetest Chant, both Grade 3’s, Sccj made the wise decision to see that this filly could do on the main track. As long as she was able to make that transition, Perfect Class had plenty of ability to get a great result. That race would be the Grade 2 Davona Dale, coming right here at GP, and she would work her way through the field in the stretch to place third, and get the 10 points. If she had a little more distance, she may have done a lot better. Now, she will have a little more distance, and has proven she can step up against this company. I think she’s going to get it done!

#8- Paris Pinnacle Party (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- We have one Paris in the KYO already, as Paris Broadway won the FG Oaks last week. Now, Mb will hope to bring the party from Paris to the big race, and this does seem to be his best entry of the three that he starts. That is mostly on the basis of her past, since we have seen her run well in preps, mainly her win in the Forward Girl Stakes here two months ago. Something didn’t click for her in the Davona Dale, getting left behind early. She runs with that off the pace tactic often, and it can be tough to have success that way. Perhaps the trainer changes things up in that regard.

Prediction: 7-6-5-8

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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