Streaking Justwhistledixie, the surprising favorite over reigning 2-year-old filly champion Stardom Bound and Silverbulletday (GII) and Golden Rod (GII) winner Rachel Alexandra in Churchill Downs’ 2009 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager, will look to strengthen her credentials for the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) when she takes on five rivals in Friday’s $200,000 Bonnie Miss (GII) at Gulfstream Park.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Justwhistledixie has a four-race winning streak, with her latest victory being an impressive 3 ¾-length romp in the one-mile Davona Dale (GII) at Gulfstream. Her previous wins came in New York. She will attempt a two-turn distance for the first time in the Bonnie Miss, which is run at 1 1/8-miles – the same distance as the Kentucky Oaks.
“I’m starting to get excited about the Oaks,” McLaughlin said. “It would really be fun to win this race and go to Churchill Downs having won five in a row. I don’t think the extra eighth of a mile will bother her.”
Julien Leparoux will pinch-hit for regular jockey Alan Garcia, who will be in Dubai on Saturday.
While McLaughlin’s sizzling filly is favored, unbeaten Gatorette will attract considerable attention in the Bonnie Miss. The David Fawkes-trained daughter of Distorted Humor scored 7 ¼-length victory in her racing debut, then returned to win a first-level allowance race by 7 ¾-lengths. The Bonnie Miss is Gatorette’s first start beyond 7 1/2 furlongs and Eibar Coa will be aboard for her stakes debut.
EAST/LARAGH POINTING TOWARD AQUEDUCT’S COMELY – Laragh, third to champion filly Stardom Bound in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), has returned to her New York base and is scheduled to make her 3-year-old debut in the Comely (GII) at Aqueduct on April 11.
Trainer John Terranova shipped Laragh by van from Florida to New York for the one-mile Comely, which will be her first start since a mid-December win in the Hollywood Starlet (GI).
“The timing for the Comely is great for her,” Terranova told Daily Racing Form. “It’s also a one-turn mile and with her speed it looks like the perfect race to bring her back.”
What A Pear Works at Aqueduct – Unbeaten What a Pear continued her preparation for a run in Keeneland’s Ashland with a five-furlong workout on Wednesday over Aqueduct’s inner track. The New York-bred filly covered the distance in 1:01.41 in what was scheduled to be her final move before her race against five-time Grade I winner Stardom Bound in the Ashland.
“Things went great,” trainer Joe Parker told Daily Racing Form. “So far, so good. I’m anxious to see what she’ll do next."
WEST/UNBEATEN CARLSBAD IN SANTA PAULA – Unbeaten Arizona-bred Carlsbad, a winner of her first four starts in Arizona by a combined margin of more than 50 lengths, makes her Southern California debut in Sunday’s $100,000 Santa Paula (GIII) on the synthetic Cushion Track surface at Santa Anita.
Now trained by Jeff Mullins, the Arizona Oaks winner faces stakes veterans Beltene and Empressive Lady in the field of six 3-year-old fillies in the 6 ½-furlong Santa Paula.