The Grade 1, $300,000 American Oaks Stakes features nine three year old fillies, most running the mile and one-quarter distance on turf for the first time. Five enter the field having won their most recent races, three of those graded stakes. Of that trio, two fillies – Californiagoldrush and Princess Warrior, earned their wins in grade 2 stakes,
Californiagoldrush when victorious in the Sands Point Stakes and Princess Warrior in the Mrs. Revere Stakes. Colonia (FR) won the Grade 3 Valley View Stakes in October in her most recent race and may be up to the task as well, but was third and beaten a pair of lengths by Californiagoldrush in the Sands Point prior to that. Paved may be this good as well, having won the Grade 2 Honeymoon Stakes in June and beaten just a half-length when second in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes this fall before a 12th place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf Stakes. Kodiak West (IRE) has a similar record as she won in November in her second start in the U.S., seven months after having captured a minor stakes race this past spring in Spain.
Competitionofideas ships in from New York for North American leading trainer Chad Brown. Her only stakes try came in a race rained off the grass last month and she won two straight turf races prior to that so she may be a contender. Retro finished third in the Surfer Girl Stakes last year as a two year old and is winless in three tries this year, while K P Pergoliscious (IRE) has one win in seven races and appears overmatched after finishing a non-threatening fifth behind Kodiak West (IRE) last month. Amandine (GB) ran in a race on Wednesday and so is unlikely to run.
Paved was facing some of the toughest turf fillies and mares in the North America, if not the world, when checking in 12th in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf but she ran exceptionally well just before that in the Rodeo Drive Stakes at the same mile and one-quarter distance of the American Oaks. In the Rodeo Drive, Paved earned a career-best and field high 115 figure when second, just a half-length behind Vasilika, who was winning her seventh race and second graded stakes in a row. In June, Paved won the Honeymoon Stakes over the course and a repeat of either of those efforts would make Paved a strong contender to win the American Oaks.
Californiagoldrush won the first two starts of her career, starting on opening day of the 2017-18 winter-spring meeting at Santa Anita then again in February. Rested six months, she was ambitiously placed in the Del Mar Oaks last summer and wasn't disgraced a bit when third of 12, earning a new career-best 109 figure. Shipped to New York one month later, Californiagoldrush beat a decent field to win the Sands Point Stakes with a 100 figure but over a very wet turf course labeled yielding. Rested three months since then, this filly who has proven capable of running big races off a layoff could have a strong say in the outcome if able to duplicate the effort shown in the Del Mar Oaks.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures in similar races, is Colonia (FR) (98), Competitionofideas (94), K P Pergoliscious (IRE) (98), Kodiak West (IRE) (93), Princess Warrior (100) and Retro (92).
You can get Ellis' detailed selections for Santa Anita at Equibase.
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