‘Real Wow’: Serengeti Empress Confirmed ‘A Go’ For Kentucky Oaks

CHAMPAGNE ANYONE – Six Column Stables and Randy Bloch’s Champagne Anyone visited the starting gate and jogged once around the main track under exercise rider Kara Lee for trainer Ian Wilkes.

Winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, Champagne Anyone had worked five furlongs in :59.80 on Monday.

LADY APPLE – Phoenix Thoroughbred III and KatieRich Stables’ Fantasy Stakes (GIII) winner Lady Apple jogged during the exclusive training window for Derby and Oaks horses at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday with exercise rider Juan Vargas aboard.

Ricardo Santana Jr. has the mount for the Longines Kentucky Oaks.

LIORA – Coffeepot Stables’ Fair Grounds Oaks runner-up Liora galloped about 1 ½ miles Tuesday with exercise rider Victor Garcia up. Even though trainer Wayne Catalano was more than 300 miles away in Chicago, he followed along closely with her training through FaceTime via his assistant Taylor Johnson at Churchill Downs.

“She looked great – I can’t wait to see her when I get back in town,” Catalano said. “I haven’t been able to even celebrate my wife’s birthday that was in October. I took a couple of days, flew back to Chicago and got our barn ready up here as well.”

MOTION EMOTION – Mark DeDomenico’s Motion Emotion jogged once around the main track for trainer Tom Van Berg,

“I just let her stretch her legs a little bit,” Van Berg said of the Fantasy (GIII) runner-up who arrived here from Oaklawn Park Sunday night.

Van Berg said that Motion Emotion, who was stabled here last fall, probably would work Friday or Saturday.

OUT FOR A SPIN – After Commonwealth Stable’s filly was a surprising 52-1 winner of the Ashland (GI) at Keeneland on April 6, trainer Dallas Stewart said everything has been very routine in the way she came out of the race as she trains for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks.

“She had her normal gallop and grazing, and she’s looking great,” said Stewart of the filly, a $75,000 yearling purchase at the September 2017 Keeneland sale, who ranks fifth in the points standings. Emerson Chavez is the regular exercise rider of Out for a Spin, who’s won two of her three starts this season, while Irad Ortiz Jr. will get the mount in the Oaks.

RESTLESS RIDER – Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimneys Farm’s Ashland Stakes runner-up Restless Rider had a light gallop at 6 a.m. Tuesday for trainer Kenny McPeek.

The gray filly by Distorted Humor never has been worse than second in seven career starts.

SERENGETI EMPRESS – The connections to Joel Politi’s filly could breathe a little easier after her workout at Churchill Downs on Tuesday with jockey Tyler Gaffalione. A post-workout examination revealed no lingering problems from the March 23 incident at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans, in which she bled.

“She bled through the nostrils after the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII),” said trainer Tom Amoss outside his barn, minutes after an endoscopic exam showed her lungs following a five-furlong workout were clear.

“I’m happy to report she’s perfectly clean,” said Louisville equine veterinarian Dr. Kevin Dunlavy. “Couldn’t have scoped any better. I told Tom that I was really pleased, that in light of today’s workout, that was all we could ask for. I’m very pleased.”

Serengeti Empress worked five furlongs in :58.20 (splits of :12.00, :23.60, :35.00, :46.60). She finished out six furlongs in 1:11.60.

Amoss said, “We’re a go, as long as she looks good tomorrow, and trains correctly, we’ll run in the Kentucky Oaks (GI),” on May 3. The filly has won four of seven lifetime starts, including the Rachel Alexandra (GII) at the Fair Grounds prior to the Fair Grounds Oaks.

So far, Amoss said, there’s no decision on who will ride her in the Oaks.

In the Fair Grounds Oaks, Serengeti Empress was the heavy favorite. In that race, she did receive Lasix before the race, and Amoss plans to have the medication administered to her before the Kentucky Oaks.

“Certainly her short-term racing career was on hold,” following the Fair Grounds race, in which she finished seventh and had to be vanned off. “We’ve worked her twice at Churchill Downs. We really let her exert today, to see if she bled. And she did not. That’s really good news.

“It’s important to note that she had never bled before the Fair Grounds Oaks, for us,” Amoss continued. “So we’re hoping that it was just one of those things. Maybe we didn’t pick up that she wasn’t feeling good that day or something like that. But today’s effort which was extremely good, and the scope afterward, has us feeling really good about being able to run in the Kentucky Oaks – which is our plan if she’s feeling good tomorrow.”

Amoss was very impressed with the way Serengeti Empress worked the final eighth of a mile Tuesday. “I feel certain that the so-called experts will call that last eighth of a mile a real ‘wow.’ It was a real wow to me, and I’ve been doing this for 30-plus years,” he said.

STREET BAND – Larry Jones, Cindy Jones and Ray Francis’ homebred Street Band walked the shedrow at Larry Jones’ barn a day after working five furlongs in 1:00.40 under jockey Sophie Doyle.

She is scheduled to return to the track Wednesday morning.

ALSO ELIGIBLES – Arriving for a possible run in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, Peter M. Brant’s filly, Dunbar Road, was out on the track for a light workout.

“She should be in good shape, so far so good,” said Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown. “She jogged, once around on the track. She’s doing everything the right way, I hope we get in.”

Brown will arrive later this week. Dunbar Road, who finished second as the favorite in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (GII) in just her second career start, is 16th on the Oaks points leaderboard, with only the top 14 that pass the entry box.

Also jogging for the Brown barn were Bricks and Mortar, winner of the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (GI) and Newspaperofrecord (IRE), the undefeated winner of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) here.

Bricks and Mortar is being pointed to the 33rd running of the $1 million Old Forester Turf Classic (GI) on May 4 while Newspaperofrecord is scheduled to use the 35th running of the $250,000 Edgewood (GIII) on May 3 as her 2019 debut.

SHAPING UP: THE LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS – Likely starters in the 145th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) to be run for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, May 3: Bellafina (jockey Flavien Prat), Champagne Anyone (Chris Landeros), Chocolate Kisses (Julien Leparoux), Flor de la Mar (Joel Rosario), Jaywalk (Javier Castellano), Jeltrin (Luis Saez), Lady Apple (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Liora (Channing Hill), Motion Emotion (Mike Smith), Out for a Spin (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Positive Spirit (Manny Franco), Restless Rider (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Serengeti Empress (Tyler Gaffalione), Street Band (Sophie Doyle).

Next up in order of preference: Cookie Dough (Jeffrey Sanchez) and Dunbar Road (Jose Ortiz).

The post ‘Real Wow’: Serengeti Empress Confirmed ‘A Go’ For Kentucky Oaks appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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