Perfect Class Right in the Middle of Things in G1 BEL Oaks

The 20th Running of the G1 BEL Oaks

Saturday, July 9, 2022

BEL Race #10 $1,500.000 11/4 Turf

3YO F 122 Lbs

Track Record-1:57.15 (Forking Fast-2008)

Stakes Record-1:58.82 (Good Line-2017)

A massive day of racing at BEL on Saturday and we are treated with the 20th running of the G1 BEL Oaks.  Slated for 10-furlongs on the inner turf course, the $700.000 counterpart to the G1 BEL Derby has drawn a full field of 14 sophomore fillies.  Not only is it a full field, it is an especially talented lineup; between the 14 combatants, 15 graded races have been won this year.

Topping the list of contenders is Perfect Class, from the barn of Sccj Stables, who has taken three graded turf races so far this season.  While she will probably go off a solid favorite, there are others in here who have shown themselves to be up to each and every challenge thrown their way.  None of the 14 can be considered a toss-out, so let’s meet the field for the G1 BEL Oaks:

#1 Ginger Tiara (The Sidley Stud/T. Gaffalione): Rail horse doesn’t have to answer the distance question as she is one of two fillies in the field who has ever run past 9-furlongs.  While she was 2nd in that 12-furlong marathon, she was only beaten a nose and she returned to take the G3 Regret at CD last month.  Draws the rail for the 2nd time in three races and looks poised to be a player in here.

#2 Becoming (Maxmillion Farm/A. Cedillo): G3 winner in April reappeared here in a G2 last month where she just missed on the off-going.  Seems like a filly that can do what’s asked of her with two victories on the front end when it was dry and another tally from well back on another off course.  Think she’ll be prominent throughout on the stretchout to 10-furlongs and it doesn’t look like the extra panel will be much of a problem.  From the looks of things, she’ll have company on the front end but she may not care anyway.  

#3 Wander (Mb Stables/R.M. Hernandez): Last seen running 11th in the G1 KYO, she switches back to the turf where she’s had some success.  It is a bit concerning that she hasn’t fared as well against turf runners in graded events, but this barn has a really good handle on what their stock is capable of.  All of her wins have come with stalking trips, and she’s well-drawn to apply those tactics here.  There’s a chance she slips just behind the two and tries to hold the garden spot on the rail in the first flight behind the lead group.  Talented, but she needs to show improvement to challenge the best in here.

#4 The Intouchables (Smokey Stover/E. Jaramillo): Another filly that ran up the track in the KYO, this lass returned last month in a G2 where she set the pace before settling for 3rd while well back at the end.  That one came over a yielding turf course and she hasn’t shown much spunk on those in two races.  She did take an early-season G3 down at GP and has two other tallies in turf stakes.  Looks like she has the option of being two-wide in the stalking group or in the same path tucked-in behind that group.  Filly has shown she can win from both spots and this conditioner hasn’t made many mistakes all year.

#5 Love Of The People (Mb Stables/C.J. Hernandez): Lighly-raced filly has only made five starts and she gets thrown straight to the wolves for her first graded assignment.  She’s been on a win-lose pattern with three wins along with a place and a show.  She may be a bit further back in the early going, but that doesn’t seem to bother her.  She’ll have to navigate the traffic in front of her and show she’s up to snuff at this level, but she likes to get her picture taken.

#6 Made In An Image (Arindel/J,S. Rocco Jr): G3 winner didn’t take to the off-going last time here in a G2.  Filly has shown an ability to win from about anywhere and that trait may come in handy here.  She doesn’t appear to be as fast as the majority of the speed factors in here, so expect her to try to tuck in and save some ground.  This will only be the 9th start of her career so there’s potential improvement available to her.  Expect her to make an appearance late, if she can find a lane.

#7 Perfect Class (Sccj Stables/Mario Gutierrez): Three-time graded winner on turf is five of six on the lawn, and the only time she lost came when going only 5f.  Trainer experimented with the main track, but she is back where she belongs for the forseeable future.  She’s the type that makes her own trip so anywhere except the front would seem to be ok with her.  She’s been extremely impressive visually on the lawn and this feels like a leading contender for the BC F&M Turf if she shows she can stay the trip.  The 10f is the only question, but have a feeling that may be grasping for an excuse to play against her.  Strictly the one to beat.

#8 Make An Impact (Maxmillion Farm/D. Moran): Another lightly-raced sort will try graded foes for the first time since a 6th-place finish in a G3 back in February.  She does come here off of a win, but this group appears to be unlike anything she’s seen in her seven-race career.  She’s been in front going shorter, so she has the wheels to be in contention early.  She has to prove if she can go this far against this company.

#9 Tequa (Arindel/J,C. Ferrer): G2 winner reunites with the pilot from that trip after just missing in a CD G3 a little more than two months ago.  With three wins from five starts on the off-going, don’t think rain would bother her connections one bit.  That being said, that G2 win came over a firm course, so it doesn’t have to come up wet for her to factor.  Could be the one to watch coming out of the gate as what she does (and she has options) will impact the race shape in the early stages.  Regradless of the weather, or the tactics, this one feels like a contender.

#10 Demanding Commander (Hippyheart/J.R. Velazquez): Spent her juvenile campaign on the main track where she did well enough to get to the BC; however, she’s been all turf in all of her starts this season.  Only defeat on grass came against the eight in the KEE G2, and she was only beaten a nose.  Scored an off-going G2 victory in preparation for this assignment and looks like she does her best running from a bit further back than most of these.  That could be good, if there’s a pace battle; however, traffic will be an issue.  Still, she makes her run regardless of track conditions, she is 3-3 on the off-going, and feels like she will be finding her best stride when the question is asked.

#11 Barbara Eden (TwinTowersRacing/S.X. Bridgmohan): Stakes winner changed hands for $50.000 a couple of weeks ago and gets thrown to the wolves in here.  That November victory is her only score in nine races, so she may be a bit camera shy.  The last time she faced graded foes, she was 6th in a G3, so there needs to be some improvement if she is to factor here.

#12 I Love Me (Mb Stables/L. Saez): Dual G1-winner as a juvenile, including the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, has a G3 to her credit this season.  Dropped to the allowance ranks after running 4th of six in an April G2 where she won on the turf before being a non-factor on the main tarck.  Following that non-effort, she should appreciate returning to the lawn.  She hasn’t really blossomed as a sophomore, but the last time she ran poorly, she returned a winner.  That’ll be tougher here, but she should be a square price for those who back her.

#13 Directors Chair (Nakamura Stables/E.J. Wilson): Filly is a dual stakes-winner on the main track, but hasn’t fared terribly on the grass in her last two efforts.  In both grass races, she led them a long way before succumbing late at 12 and 9-furlongs, respectively.  In both, she didn’t really fade so much as she just got caught.  Doesn’t get any favors with this draw, but she may be intent on going to the front, regardless of where she was drawn.  Doesn’t figure to be lonely out front, but maybe she will appreciate having a target.  Have to like the fact that this is the barn’s only runner here.  Contender.   

#14 Lady Hilltopper  (Black N Gold Stable/M. Franco): Claimed for $14.000 back in Febryary and has taken an allowance and a G3 in three starts for the new barn.  Filly figures to take a hard left after the gates open and she is the most likely trailer in the field.  The draw leaves her susceptible to being caught a little wide, but she is one that wants to make only one run.  She’s turned out to be a sharp claim, but a win here would make her in the running for claim of the year.  Expect she will be flying down the lane, just needs to get it timed perfectly and have someweher to run.

Final Analysis: Perfect Class has shown to be a deserving favorite and we’re of the opinion she will be one of the ones come November.  We’ll play it 7-9-4 in an exciting renewal of the G1 BEL Oaks.  Good luck everyone!

Categories: Grade I, Races, STAKES ARTICLES

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