RACHEL’S VALENTINA 7-2 MORNING-LINE FAVORITE $1 MILLION LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS (GI)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Tuesday, May 2, 2016) – The 1-2 finishers from last month’s Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland, Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More and Stonestreet Stables’ Rachel’s Valentina, sporting family ties to the Kentucky Oaks (GI), headline a field of 14 3-year-old fillies entered today for Friday’s 142nd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
The Kentucky Oaks will go as the 11th race on Friday’s 13-race program that begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Post time for the Kentucky Oaks is 5:49. The Oaks is one of six graded stakes on the program that also features the $300,000 La Troienne (GI) and the $400,000 Alysheba (GII).
The Oaks, which awards $564,200 to the winner, will be shown on NBCSN with its telecast running from 12:30-6 p.m.
Weep No More is a granddaughter of 2001 Kentucky Oaks winner Flute and Rachel’s Valentina is a daughter of 2009 Oaks winner Rachel Alexandra. Both are Grade I winners.
Rachel’s Valentina, established as the 7-2 morning-line favorite by Churchill Downs linemaker Mike Battaglia, won her first two starts of 2015, including a victory in the Spinaway (GI) at Saratoga. She finished second to champion Songbird in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Keeneland before debuting in the Ashland.
Todd Pletcher trains Rachel’s Valentina, who will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post position 11.
Pletcher is seeking his fourth victory in the Oaks having won previously with Ashado (2004), Rags to Riches (2007) and Princess of Sylmar (2013). Velazquez, the only jockey in the race to have won the Oaks previously, scored with Ashado.
Pletcher also will send out King of Prussia Stable’s Mo d’Amour. Winner of the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct in February, Mo d’Amour will break from post position seven and be ridden by Joel Rosario.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Weep No More brings a three-race win streak into the Oaks. Prior to her victory at Keeneland, Weep No More won the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
Corey Lanerie retains the mount on Weep No More, the co-second choice at 9-2, and will break from post position two.
Two other trainers will be seeking to add to their Oaks win totals Friday: Hall of Fame electee Steve Asmussen and Neil Howard.
Asmussen, who won the Oaks in 2005 with Summerly and in 2014 with Untapable, will send out three runners: Stonestreet Stables’ Terra Promessa, Stonestreet and Regis Farms LP’s Royal Obsession and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Taxable.
Terra Promessa, brings a four-race win streak into the Oaks highlighted by victories in the Fantasy (GIII) and Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn Park. Ricardo Santana Jr., who has been aboard the Curlin filly in all five of her starts, has the mount and will break from post position one.
Royal Obsession, who broke her maiden at first asking here last fall, enters the Oaks off a runner-up finish in Gazelle (GII) at Aqueduct. Florent Geroux has the call on Royal Obsession and will break from post position eight.
Taxable, a winner of two of three starts and also a first-out winner here last fall, fell a neck short of catching Terra Promessa in the Fantasy. Mike Smith has the mount and will break from post position 14.
Howard will send out Stoneway Farm’s Dream Dance as he seeks a repeat on his 2000 victory in the Oaks with Secret Status.
Runner-up in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) and third in the Pocahontas (GIII) here last September, Dream Dance will have regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard and break from post position five. Adding further depth to the field are five Grade II winners: Cathryn Sophia, Lewis Bay, Land Over Sea, Go Maggie Go and Venus Valentine.
Cash is King’s Cathryn Sophia, who won her first four starts by more than 40 combined lengths, enters the Oaks off a third-place finish in the Central Bank Ashland. Trained by John Servis, Cathryn Sophia started the year with blowout victories in the Forward Gal (GII) and Davona Dale (GII). Javier Castellano has the riding assignment and will break from post position 12. Cathryn Sophia is the co-second choice on the morning line at 9-2.
Alpha Delta Stables’ Lewis Bay comes into the Oaks off a victory in the Gazelle (GII) at Aqueduct for trainer Chad Brown. Winner of the Demoiselle (GII) in November, Lewis Bay will break from post position three and be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.
Reddam Racing’s Land Over Sea won the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) in her most recent start. Trained by Doug O’Neill and to be ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Land Over Sea and stablemate Nyquist, the favorite for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), could give the human connections the first Oaks-Derby sweep since 1952 when Real Delight and Hill Gail won the races under Eddie Arcaro for Calumet Farm and trainer Ben Jones.
Land Over Sea, the fourth choice on the morning line at 5-1, will break from post position 13.
Rosemont Farm’s homebred Venus Valentine punched her Oaks ticket with a victory in the Rachel Alexandra (GII) at Fair Grounds. Trained by Tom Amoss, Venus Valentine will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and break from post position 10.
The field for the Kentucky Oaks, with riders and morning line odds from the rail out, is: Terra Promessa (Santana Jr., 10-1), Weep No More (Lanerie, 9-2), Lewis Bay (Ortiz Jr., 8-1), Go Maggie Go (L. Saez, 12-1), Dream Dance (Hernandez Jr., 30-1), Mokat (Flavien Prat, 20-1), Royal Obsession (Geroux, 20-1), Paola Queen (Emisael Jaramillo, 30-1), Venus Valentine (Bridgmohan, 30-1), Rachel’s Valentina (Velazquez, 7-2), Cathryn Sophia (Castellano, 9-2), Land Over Sea (Gutierrez, 5-1) and Taxable (Smith, 20-1). Also-Eligible: Dothraki Queen (Gary Stevens, 30-1).