Keeneland Presents American Graded Stakes Standings: Bargain Filly on Quest for Lilies
One of the more delightful stories over the past few months has been that of the 3-year-old filly, Rose to Gold. Last week, the daughter of Friends Lake notched the third graded stakes victory of her career when she splashed to a 4 ½-length win in the G3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The win gave Rose to Gold two graded stakes wins on the season so far, placing her among the leading horses on the American Graded Stakes Standings list.
If there were any doubts regarding the filly's talent, she certainly put them to rest as she proceeded to stamp her ticket to the G1 Kentucky Oaks May 3. Trained by Sal Santoro, Rose to Gold has won five of seven career starts. In addition to the Fantasy, the chestnut filly earned graded stakes wins in two other graded stakes – the Honeybee and the Delta Downs Princess. To date, Rose to Gold has earned $717,889.
Rose to Gold came from somewhat humble beginnings. A daughter of the aforementioned Friends Lake, she is out of the unraced Tabasco Cat mare, Saucy. Bred in Kentucky by Joe Sr., Joe Jr., John and Karen Mulholland, Rose to Gold went through the sales ring for the first time as a yearling at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton February sale. She sold for $1,400 to Alexandro Centofanti; later that year, Rose to Gold RNA'd for $10,000 at the OBS August sale.
Retained by Centofanti and raced in partnership with Kathleen Amaya and Raffaele Centofanti, Rose to Gold began her career in South Florida, rattling off wins in both the Lindsay Frolic and Brave Raj Stakes at Calder. The only time she has been out of the money was last fall at Keeneland, when she didn't take to the Polytrack and finished a well-beaten 12th in the G1 Darley Alcibiades.
Ciao Bella Luna, winner of the G2 Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland Sunday, is another graded stakes winner that hails from a rather modest background. The 3-year-old filly by Tribal Rule did not meet her reserve of $6,500 when she went through the 2011 Keeneland January sale as a yearling. Retained by her breeders, Dennis and Carol Yokum, Ciao Bella Luna has earned $145,180 so far for a partnership that also includes Gillian Campbell, Greenwood Lodge Farm, and Martin Racing Stable.
Ciao Bella Luna's Beaumont victory moved trainer Jerry Hollendorfer into fourth place among the leading trainers on the AGS list this week. The Hall of Fame conditioner has sent out four graded stakes winners –Sahara Sky, Hear the Ghost, Scarlet Strike, in addition to the Beaumont winner this season. Hollendorfer also sits atop the AGS leading owner list, with three graded stakes winners so far this year.