Oaks Contenders Crazy Beautiful, Millefeuille Complete Serious Preparations

Phoenix Thoroughbred’s Crazy Beautiful, winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in her most recent start, completed her final major piece of work for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks by working a half-mile in :49.20 under Danny Ramsey for trainer Kenny McPeek at Churchill Downs.

Also at Churchill Downs, Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille worked five furlongs in :59.60 in company to produce the fastest of 29 works at the distance. Ailsa Morrison was aboard the Gulfstream Park Oaks runner-up for trainer Bill Mott.

At Belmont Park, Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja, runner-up in the Gazelle (G3) in her most recent start, worked a half-mile in :48.20 for trainer Rob Atras. Maracuja is scheduled to head to Churchill Downs Sunday with a Monday arrival.

AVA’S GRACE – Cypress Creek Equine’s Ava’s Grace walked the shedrow at trainer Robertino Diodoro’s barn a day after working a half-mile in :49.20.

According to Diodoro assistant Sean Williams, Ava’s Grace is scheduled to jog two miles Sunday.

CLAIRIERE, PAULINE’S PEARL – Stonestreet Stables’ homebreds Clairiere and Pauline’s Pearl both galloped Saturday morning and are scheduled to have their final Oaks works Sunday morning. Trainer Steve Asmussen indicated he’ll keep and eye on the weather before determining when exactly his star fillies will go out.

“Obviously we’re expecting some rain (Saturday) so I don’t know if we’ll go right away or wait for a break or two,” Asmussen said.

COACH, TRAVEL COLUMN – Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner Travel Column and Fantasy (G3) third-place finisher Coach had a scheduled walk day at trainer Brad Cox’s Barn 22 following their respective five-furlong breezes in 1:00.40 Friday.

COMPETITIVE SPEED – John Minchello’s Competitive Speed walked the shedrow for trainer Javier Gonzalez a day after working five furlongs in 1:02.40.

Gonzalez said Competitive Speed would return to the track Sunday morning.Chris Landeros has picked up the Oaks mount on Competitive Speed and Gonzalez said there was a chance the rider would have a get-acquainted session one morning next week.

CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD’s Crazy Beautiful, with exercise rider Danny Ramsey aboard, put in her final four-furlong work during the 15-minute period reserved for Kentucky Derby and Oaks hopefuls.

Crazy Beautiful was clocked at :49.20, with splits of :12 and :23.60, then finishing up at 1:02.60 for five furlongs.

Trainer Kenny McPeek was beaming after stablemates Crazy Beautiful and King Fury put in pleasing simultaneous workout efforts.

“She had a breeze last week in :59, which was a bullet work,” McPeek said. “So today I just went a half with her, something simple, again just a basic maintenance work. She’s eating good, and like King Fury, she’s doing super good, fingers crossed.”

The filly is third on the Oaks leaderboard, after winning the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in her most recent outing.

“We had an issue with her last year, what we call scalping,” McPeek said. “Her front toes were cutting her in her back ankles. It is kind of a blacksmith issue, of leveling the feet. This year, it hasn’t been an issue; we had to actually give her a little bit of a break, some turnout time, and she stopped doing it completely.”

MALATHAAT – Shadwell Stable’s undefeated Malathaat merely had a “walk the shedrow” morning Saturday at Churchill Downs after accomplishing her final prep for Friday’s Kentucky Oaks the day before.

The bay daughter of Curlin, four-for-four and a three-time stakes winner, came out of her half-mile drill in :48.40 under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez in good order, according to conditioner Todd Pletcher.

“She went well,” Pletcher said of the Friday prep. “Depending on the weather, we’ll get her back on the track one way or another (Sunday).”

Malathaat is likely to be the favorite for the $1.25 million Run for the Lillies and will have Velazquez aboard for her nine-furlong journey.

MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja put in her final Oaks work Saturday morning at Belmont Park, going four furlongs in 48.20 in company for trainer Rob Atras. The daughter of Honor Code stepped up off an maiden sprint win at Aqueduct in February to be a strong second there in the April 3 Gazelle (G3) behind Oaks heavy hitter Search Results. Maracuja worked with 3-year-old New York-bred Horn of Plenty in what was her second move since the Gazelle, which was run over the Oaks’ 1 1/8 miles.

The work was the 11th fastest of 105 at the distance.

“I was very happy with it,” Atras said. “I wasn’t worried about the time but the track must have been playing fast because the work didn’t look that quick to me. She did it easily down the lane and had a nice even gallop out.”

Maracuja had hit the board in her first two starts and broke her maiden at odds-on but was a relative unknown at 18-1 in the six-horse Gazelle. She settled in fifth off a glacial half-mile in :50.09 but ran on gamely through the lane and was beaten just 2 ¾ lengths by Search Results, while 3 ¾ lengths clear of third. The significance of Maracuja’s result, and subsequent 40 Oaks qualifying points she earned in the process, didn’t register right away to Atras, though he’s fully grasped it now.

“It’s exciting,” Atras said. “Even up to a month ago, I never expected to be in the race (Oaks). Even after the race (Gazelle), it wasn’t on my mind until it sank in that we had the opportunity to go.”

Atras indicated that Maracuja will ship from Belmont Sunday afternoon and figures to arrive at Churchill Downs early Monday morning. She’ll be accompanied by his wife, Brittney, along with a groom. Atras will likely arrive in Louisville Thursday. Initial plans are for Maracuja to settle in Monday and get a feel for the track Tuesday morning.

MILLEFEUILLE – Juddmonte Farms’ Millefeuille worked five furlongs in :59.60 with Ailsa Morrison aboard as she completed her major preparations for next Friday’s Kentucky Oaks. The move was the best of 29 at the distance Saturday morning.

Working on the inside of Obligatory, who was fourth in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), Millefeuille produced splits of :12.60, :23.80, :35.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 and seven-eighths in 1:27.

“It looked good to me,” trainer Bill Mott said of the work that began after Millefeuille had galloped once around.

MORAZ – The California-based filly was said to have come out of her Friday drill (half mile in :48.20) at Santa Anita in good fettle Saturday morning according to assistant trainer Justin Curran, speaking at Churchill Barn 37 where the daughter of Empire Maker will be shipped to Sunday.

“They tell me she worked very well and is doing fine today,” Curran said. “Mike (trainer Michael McCarthy) has gone from Santa Anita up to Golden Gate (in the Bay Area) to run six horses on their big card this afternoon. He’ll come to Louisville from there tomorrow and be training here Monday morning.”

PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – R. A. Hill Stable, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rock Ridge Racing, Blue Ridge Stables and James Brown’s Pass the Champagne galloped Saturday morning at Palm Beach Downs.

Trainer George Weaver said the Ashland (G1) runner-up would have a similar exercise in the morning before beginning the trip to Churchill Downs that has an early Monday arrival time.

SEARCH RESULTS – Klaravich Stables’ Search Results came out of her final Oaks work Friday in good order, according to trainer Chad Brown. The undefeated daughter of Flatter walked the shedrow Saturday morning and will return to the track Sunday and gallop, likely during the 7:30-7:45 Derby and Oaks training window.

WILL’S SECRET – Willis Horton’s Honeybee (G3) winner Will’s Secret walked trainer Dallas Stewart’s Barn 34 at Churchill Downs following her half-mile breeze in :48.20 Friday morning.

“We’re ready to roll,” Stewart said.

SHAPING UP: THE KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 147th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, April 30 in order of preference (with possible jockey and trainer): Search Results (Irad Ortiz Jr., Chad Brown); Travel Column (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox); Crazy Beautiful (Jose Ortiz, Kenny McPeek); Pauline’s Pearl (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen); Malathaat (John Velazquez, Todd Pletcher); Clairiere (Tyler Gaffalione, Steve Asmussen); Will’s Secret (Jon Court, Dallas Stewart); Millefeuille (Joel Rosario, Bill Mott); Moraz (Umberto Rispoli, Michael McCarthy); Ava’s Grace (David Cohen, Robertino Diodoro); Pass the Champagne (Javier Castellano, George Weaver); Maracuja (Kendrick Carmouche, Rob Atras); Competitive Speed (Chris Landeros, Javier Gonzalez); Coach (Luis Saez, Brad Cox).

Next up in order of preference: Spritz (TBA, Rodolphe Brisset).

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