Joel Politi's Serengeti Empress has demonstrated flashes of brilliance in her brief career, winning five of eight starts, including the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks last time out at Churchill Downs.
If all goes well following a scheduled workout on Friday morning at Churchill Downs, the Oaks winner is expected to target the Grade 1, $700,000 Acorn, a one-mile event over Big Sandy on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8.
Trained by Tom Amoss, the dark bay daughter of Alternation was dismissed on the tote board at odds of 13-1 in the Kentucky Oaks but showed her heels to the field, opening up by three lengths at the half-mile marker, and stayed on strong, turning back a late challenge from Acorn-bound Liora to win by 1 3/4-lengths.
Amoss said the speedy filly's ability to get away from a talented Grade 1 field was impressive.
“I think the separation, not only between my horse and the horse that finished second, but the separation between Liora and the third-place finisher (5 1/2-lengths) showed we really separated ourselves from the field. I really thought that was impressive,” said Amoss.
Serengeti Empress demonstrated an ability to dominate fields from first asking when she graduated on July 4 at Indiana Downs by 5 1/2-lengths. She added two more sparkling juvenile wins to her credentials when romping the Ellis Park Debutante by 13 1/2-lengths before running rampant in the Grade 2 Pocahontas at Churchill Downs when 19 1/2-lengths clear of her nearest rival.
After finishing off the board in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Serengeti Empress was freshened and returned in February at Fair Grounds with another dominant front-running score in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra. However, after finishing last of seven in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks it was determined that Serengeti Empress had bled in her final prep for the Kentucky Oaks.
While the skeptical punters allowed Serengeti Empress to escape at long odds in her Oaks score, the talented filly is not likely to be dismissed again. Amoss confirmed that the filly came out of her Oaks coup in good order.
“She came out of the race in good shape, and she'll have her first breeze since the Kentucky Oaks tomorrow morning at Churchill Downs,” said Amoss. “It will be an easy work, but it will be her first work since the race. We're leaning towards the Acorn as long as she tells us she's ready to go.”
Ultimately, the veteran conditioner and analyst on the NYRA-produced America's Day at the Races, is hopeful of pointing the filly towards a summer campaign at Saratoga.
“I'm hoping to have her at Saratoga and doing well. It's a great place to show off a horse's talent, particularly one that's going to be a broodmare someday, for the world to see. Saratoga brings everybody in, the elite breeders and the elite owners, and we would like her to display her talents in front of that crowd,” said Amoss.
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