Undefeated Kathleen O. Tops Gulfstream Park Oaks
McGaughey-Trained Filly 4-5 Morning-Line Favorite
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Winngate Stables LLC’s Kathleen O. will put an undefeated record on the line when the 3-year-old daughter of Upstart makes her two-turn debut in Saturday’s $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) after producing three late-closing gems around one turn.
“I’m looking forward to running her around two turns Saturday and see how that goes,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said. “I think she’ll run around two turns. She’s never done it, but she’s out of an Arch mare and Flatter is A.P. Indy – that’s all two-turn dirt. I think it will be fine.”
The 1 1/16-mile Gulfstream Park Oaks, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs May 6, will be featured on Saturday’s 14-race program, along with the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale at Xalapa and eight other stakes. The 52nd running of the Gulfstream Oaks will offer 170 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks with 100 going to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for the third-place finisher and 10 to the fourth-place finisher.
McGaughey has saddled four winners of the Gulfstream Park Oaks – Glitter Woman (1997), My Flag ($1996), Inside Information (1994 and Dispute (1993). Dispute went on to win the Kentucky Oaks.
Kathleen O. was installed as the 4-5 morning-line favorite in a field of seven after drawing Post Position No. 7 Wednesday.
Kathleen O. debuted over a sloppy Aqueduct racetrack Nov. 12, closing from sixth in mid-stretch to score by a head in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race. The daughter of Upstart was ultra-impressive in her stakes debut at Gulfstream, capturing the Jan. 1 Cash Run going away by 6 ½ lengths at a one-turn mile despite being shut off at the break. The Kentucky-bred filly rallied from last March 5 to score by two lengths in the one-mile Davona Dale (G2).
“She’s doing fine at Payson. She’s had two works since she ran. She worked Saturday and she looked good,” McGaughey said. “She’s kind of a big, tall filly right now, so I think she’s still got some filling in to do. She seems to like to train. So far, so good with her.”
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano has the return mount aboard the McGaughey trainee.
Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire enters the Gulfstream Park Oaks off a close-up second in the Feb. 19 Rachel Alexandra (G2). The daughter of Mineshaft, who held the lead in the stretch before finishing a half-length behind victorious Turnerloose in the 1 1/16-mile Fair Grounds stakes, had previously closed from well off the pace to finish second in the seven-furlong Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs.
Goddess of Fire, who drew Post No. 7, is rated second in the morning line at 9-5.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled Dreaming of Julia for a victory in the 2013 Gulfstream Park Oaks, has awarded the mount aboard Goddess of Fire to Luis Saez.
Augustin Stable’s Catiche is set to make her stakes debut in the Gulfstream Park Oaks off a six-length maiden score at 1 1/16 miles over the Tapeta course March 6.
Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call aboard the Jonathan Thomas trainee, who is rated third in the morning line at 6-1.
Edward Seltzer’s Running Legacy is scheduled to make her main-track debut in the Oaks. The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained daughter of Gun Runner won at first asking in a mile-and-70-yard maiden special weight race over the Tapeta surface at Gulfstream. The homebred filly finished a troubled fifth in a 7 ½-furlong optional claiming allowance on turf March 16,
Tyler Gaffalione has the call aboard Running Legacy.
Sumaya U.S. Stables’ Amani’s Image, a daughter of Tapit, enters the Oaks off a third-place optional claiming allowance finish that followed a maiden victory at Tampa Bay Downs.
Trainer Fausto Gutierrez named Jose Ortiz to ride the Kentucky-bred filly.
Trainer Daniel Hurtak’s Blustery, who is slated to make her stakes debut off the claim out of a victory in a $35,000 maiden claiming race; and CJ Thoroughbreds’ Cancel This, who is coming off a pair of fourth-place finishes in optional claiming allowances for trainer Dale Romans, round out the field.