WO Oaks Looks A Bit Wide Open

WO Oaks Stakes ($500.000 Purse)
WO- For Fillies Three Years Old Foaled in Canada
One Mile and One Eighth on the Dirt
July 24, 2022

Canadian fillies will have their chance to shine as one of the top nation-bred races that exists for them, the WO Oaks, is run this Sunday. The race first appeared on the schedule in 2008, and the details of the race have remained constant through time. That first race was won by the late My Darling, with other winners since then including Hehehe, Distinguished, Misty Firefox, and Blue Caviar. Mb Stables has had a good stranglehold on the race, winning it five times, including a three year stretch from 2013 to 2015. He also won last year, with Creepy Crawlies. That filly remains active and is still competing at the graded level, as of now. While the WO Oaks is for Canadian breds, it has traditionally been all ON-breds. That changes this year with the recent rise in breeding in BC, and one of those BC-breds will be making an appearance here. Let’s take a look at this field of ten!

#1- Pirate Code (Big Guns Stables, ridden by G Corrales)- Not a widely accomplished horse as of yet, but she has done well in overnights, winning three of the five that she has been in. Unfortunately for the trainer, she has struggled to make the jump into stakes competition, and has not been a factor in any of the three she has been in. Not greatly experienced running long, so maybe that puts her over the top but must be at her absolute best here. Tell her it’s not a stake.

#2- Third Gear (Smokey Stover, ridden by E Jaramillo)- Joined the Smokey Stover contingent of horses in late February after a $300.000 private sale. She had not run much yet, so the trainer was certainly banking on the potential in which she had shown. It’s been three races now since the sale, and Third Gear has picked up two wins, including her most recent: the Grade 2 Black Eyed Susan two months ago. This investment is certainly paying off, and now the only question left to answer is how good can she become.

#3- Freezak (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Smokey Stover may have let one get away, as he lost Freezak on debut in a $7.500 maiden claimer. After losing by twenty lengths, Smokey probably was not too concerned, and Team 7 Illusions was wondering what the heck he just bought. Well, it turns out that she just didn’t like the yielding turf and needed to get that debut out of the way, as we have seen many times here. At the same time, she really hasn’t done anything yet and her maiden win only drew an 86 SRF.

#4- Low Budget Java (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E J Wilson)- Participated in a handful of preps for the KYO and won the $200.000 Martha Washington at OP in January. Should also leave a mention that she won the $250.000 Princess Elizabeth, for Canadians, as a two year old. Since the Martha Washington, she’s continued to run in some of the better stakes in the division, but was not able to get to the KYO. Ran fourth in the Mother Goose in her last start and the trainer will hope that’s a sign of better things to come as before that she was a little sluggish.

#5- Paris Broadway (Arindel, ridden by J R Velazquez)- One of the two horses that was able to run in the KYO at the start of May, and while Paris Broadway did finish sixth, she was still just a length off the winner. To get there, she had back to back wins in the Davis and the FG Oaks and that made her the post time favorite for the KYO. She would hope for better in the Acorn, but instead got much worse. Hopefully the trainer knows exactly why that happened and can fix it, and I imagine that since she is here, that he will.

#6- Lailoni (Arindel, ridden by J C Ferrer)- A strong two year old season saw her win the biggest race that she could, the BC Juvenile. She would not be satisfied with finishing her year that way, though, and would win the Grade 1 Starlet at LA a month later. Things started well for her this year in the Southwest, but since then she has struggled in the three stakes that she has been in. Tired out to a sixth place finish in her last start, the Summertime Oaks. Have we seen the best of her, or can she be resurgent?

#7- Kind Lassie (Hawaiian Shirt Guy, ridden by A A Reyes)- There is no easy way to figure it out, but it may be that Kind Lassie is the first BC-bred to run here in the WO Oaks. Can she steal the glory away from the Ontario breds? Well, to do so, she will need to be at her best, as others will seem to have a better shot. She’s won four of eleven, though all too often she seems to not show up when more is at stake. It’s hard to throw a lot of support behind here.

#8- Beaucucamonga (Glorify Stables, ridden by P Husbands)- A still lightly raced filly, with seven starts to her name as of now. She’s managed two wins in that time, and will make her stake debut here in the WO Oaks. The mindset of the trainer improved substantially after her last race, which was a $25.000 claimer right here. Beaucucamonga won by a length, and has the trainer believing she is ready for this. The speed figures are not going to impress, and if she has it in her, I’ll need to see it, first.

#9- Bella Chica (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- Earlier this month, Bella Chica finished second in the IA Oaks, finishing a length behind the winner. She ran in a handful of preps for the KYO, but failed to accumulate the kind of points that were needed. Some improvement from the IA Oaks is certainly very possible for her, and it could be enough to get her in the mix. Otherwise, if I was Mb Stables, I would want to have another one in the race with her.

#10- Wander (Mb Stables, ridden by L Saez)- The second entry for Mb Stables stands as his best chance to pick up a win. Wander has made twelve starts, six coming on the main track and six on the turf, so is that because of impressive versatility, or because the trainer is not convinced about what her strong suit is yet? Winning both the $250.000 Busher and the Grade 3 Gazelle got her into the KYO, but she fatigued after setting the early fractions, and wound up near the back. It was off to the grass for the BEL Oaks, where she was fifth, so I think with her, we’re seeing strong surface versatility.

Prediction: 2-6-10-4

— NS

Categories: NG Stakes, STAKES ARTICLES

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