Smokey Stover Looks to Continue Great KYO Prep Season in SA Oaks

SA Oaks (Grade 2) (KYO)- $400.000 Purse
SA- For Fillies Three Years Old
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
April 9, 2022

This weekend represents the last chance to qualify a horse into the KYO next month. With three 100-point races going on Friday and Saturday, and then a 10-point race on Sunday, there is still plenty of room for movement on the KYO leaderboard, and for new entries to crack the top fourteen. Here, we are going to take a look at what is going on out west in the SA Oaks, as a field of eight look to establish themselves as a threat for the KYO. A variety of different trainers have won this race in the past, and in 2021, Night Rider Stables got to experience the victory, thanks to Slckmoment Laga. This still active filly has continued to run well, placing second in the Acorn before ultimately winning the BC Fillies & Mares Sprint. We have eight going to post, looking to be the next name added. Here they are!

#1- Poison Candy (Glorify Stables, ridden by S Elliott)- So far just a winner of one race, breaking her maiden in her fifth career start. That victory saw her entered into graded competition right away, but she did not hit the board in her next two starts. Dropped a bit into the AZ Oaks, and ran second at TUP last month. I would have preferred to have seen a win there, but she worked extremely well at WO two weeks ago, and hopefully for the trainer that improvement will be see in this race.

#2- Our Last Night (Mb Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- There will be three in the race for Mb Stables, even with him figuring to be well represented in the KYO> Still have a nice $400.000 purse to race for, after all. Our Last Night has spent most of her career running with the NM-bred condition, and has been first or second all of her starts since Mb picked her up for a mere $5.000 in the auction. Comes out of a second place run in the $250.000 NM Breeder Oaks, earning her a shot here.

#3- Upstate (Smokey Stover, ridden by N Juarez)- Five days after finishing second in the Suncoast at TAM, Upstate changed trainer hands as Smokey Stover put up $600.000 for the filly, showing that one can never have too many good horses. The trainer currently has three in the top five already, so you have to ask yourself, what will the trainer do if Upstate wins this race. Then, surely, he has strong contenders in the other KYO preps, too. In her lone race with Smokey thus far, she was second in the $250.000 Busher at AQU. She has 26 points, and is 24th on the leaderboard.

#4- Viable Tactics (Mb Stables, ridden by J Talamo)- 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. Hey, I cheated and copy and pasted that from last week, where she was scratched from the GP Oaks. Nothing has changed in a week.

#5- Ask forfree Delivery (Arindel, ridden by R Gutierrez)- Right now, Arindel has two in a safe position for the KYO, but he is not about to let Mb and Smokey be the only ones in the race with three entries. Ask Forfree Delivery has 12 points right now, and is 32nd on the leaderboard, and ranked fifth of the trainer’s horses. The last time we saw her, she was a non factor, missing by five lengths in a seventh place effort at the Risen Star. It was a rare bad start for her, and the trainer has had time now to figure out what went wrong, and fix it.

#6- Oddway (Gdp Inc., ridden by E Maldonado)- In four races, this horse has won, well, zero of them. Breaking your maiden in the SA Oaks would be an odd way of going about it, but at least we could say he had the perfect name for it. She works well, and it’s the last chance to make the KYO, so if you think your horse can do it, you got to give it a shot.

#7- Flying Ridge (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Right now, Flying Ridge would be in the KYO, sitting 11th on the leaderboard, and second of the trainer’s entries. However, she will still need to pick up points, as by the end of the weekend, her fifty could potentially not be enough. She earned those points by winning the SUN Oaks just two weeks ago, which was her first stake victory. Runs a style that would seem to be effective next month if she did qualify.

#8- Mystic Rhythm (Paradise Stable, ridden by R J Albarado)- This filly has only won once over her eight career starts, but she is getting plenty of opportunities to have her second win be a major one. Unfortunately, she has not really done much over her last races, with fifth being as close as she was to winner, and in two of them, she was beaten by at least five lengths. Naturally, you would love to see one of the game’s longest tenured players find their way into the KYO, but I’m not optimistic about her chances of getting a win here.

Prediction: 3-2-7-5

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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