The 70th running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Summertime Oaks features Stellar Wind, last seen finishing a disappointing fourth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks but returning to the scene of her biggest victory, this past April in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. Nine fillies line up against her, including recent Angel's Flight Stakes winner and runner-up Fantastic Style and Tara's Tango, respectively, as well as Melair Stakes winner Sheer Pleasure. Scat Means Go was closing fast for third in the Grade 3 Eight Belles Stakes last month and can improve. A number of fillies enter the race off wins and could step up to the level of this race, including Conquest Curlgirl, Roksana and All Star Bob.
Tara's Tango has improved in each of her two starts since her debut last July in which she won by three lengths and earned an 87 Equibase Speed Figure. Given time off to mature following the win and returning for her three-year-old debut in April, Tara's Tango went right into stakes company, finishing second in the Santa Paula Stakes with a 98 figure. Next seen in the Angel's Flight Stakes last month, Tara's Tango was no match for lone frontrunner Fantastic Style, finishing second once again, but improving to a 100 figure. The Angel's Flight was contested at seven furlongs while the Summertime Oaks will be run at one mile and one-sixteenth, a distance Tara's Tango is bred to handle even better. In addition, Fantastic Style faced only four other horses when leading from start to finish in the Angel's Flight but faces nine others for this race so is unlikely to repeat the effort. As such, Tara's Tango should take another step forward in her career and earn her first stakes victory.
Scat Means Go could be a longshot worth noting, and worth wagering on, in the Summertime Oaks. She ran the best race of her career last month when rallying from last of 11 to finish third in the Eight Belles Stakes, earning a career best 98 figure. Two races prior to that, Scat Means Go won a two-turn race on dirt pretty easily, with a third place finish in the Sunland Park Oaks in between those two races. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens takes the call and with the filly stretching back to two turns she should be up close to the pacesetter as she was when she last won, so could take over in the stretch and hold on for the upset win.
Roksana is a perfect two-for-two racing around two turns, both wins coming at Santa Anita. She rallied from fourth for the victory in the first of the two, in March, earning a 93, then improved to a 99 figure in the second of those wins. With more improving to do there is little doubt Roksana can have an impact in her first stakes appearance in the Summertime Oaks.
Stellar Wind was taken back to 12th in the 14 horse Kentucky Oaks field last month when sent off as the lukewarm three-to-one favorite and didn't do much running until the last eighth of a mile, passing many to end up fourth with a 98 ™. Prior to that, she won three in a row including the Santa Anita Oaks with a 95 figure and the Santa Ysabel Stakes with a 98 figure. Back at her home track and with a very strong recent pair of workouts, Stellar Wind is giving indications she can return to top form. However, with her best figure this year 98, no better than any of the other main contenders, she will have to improve to better form than when last seen on the circuit to win.
Fantastic Style just won the Angel's Flight Stakes over the track with a career best and field high 106 figure, leading from start to finish, the style she has shown for all three of her career wins. Getting the 10 post position for the Summertime Oaks, Fantastic Style will have to use energy to get the lead and the rail before the first turn and instead of facing only four rivals as she did last month she faces nine others today so she will have a much harder task. One of the age-old credos in racing is “never bet a favorite trying something for the first time,” which applies here as Fantastic Style has never raced around two turns. The combination of a potentially poor post and never having raced at the distance are two reasons this filly is not a win contender in the Summertime Oaks.
The rest of the field, with their best representative Equibase Speed Figures, is All Star Bob (85), Conquest Curlgirl (97), Danette (98), Guild (81) and Sheer Pleasure (88).
Scat Means Go
Get Ellis' detailed analysis and selections of all the races at Santa Anita at Equibase.com
Last week, Ellis tabbed weekly feature race winner Noble Bird in the Stephen Foster Handicap, one of four top choices selected on the Churchill card, including three consecutive winners. Four additional winners were listed as contenders on his full report, including $66 winner Frivolous.
Ellis Starr, also known as “Ubercapper”, is the National Racing Analyst for Equibase, producing widely distributed selections and analysis for various tracks around the country. Ellis has been a public handicapper for over 20 years and was one of the first to publish selections on the Internet, sharing his insights as well as the methodology he uses daily.
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