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Coaching Club American Oaks: Curalina One of Many Stars

Coaching Club American Oaks: Curalina One of Many Stars- Todd Pletcher and the term “value” rarely go in the same sentence when discussing horse odds in a Saratoga Race Course event. In this instance, Curalina’s final odds in the Coaching Club American Oaks (GI) on Sunday may end up decent considering her record and trainer. The well-matched field includes I’m a Chatterbox, Include Betty and Keen Pauline. Plus, the consistent Wonder Gal will attract attention. Can the public really decide which horse they want?

Coaching Club American Oaks 2015

Curalina, pictured above at Belmont Park, currently holds three wins out of four races. She is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and will break from post positions number three with jockey John Velazquez in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.
Photo: Susie Raisher, Coglianese/NYRA

Curalina currently holds three wins out of four races. She is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. Horses trained by Pletcher are always popular at this meet, but in this case the attention is deserved. In Curalina’s only attempt at two turns, she crushed an optional claiming field at Churchill Downs.

The improving daughter of Curlin also won the Acorn (GI), run around one turn at Belmont Park, in her most recent start. The pace helped a little bit, and the race was roughly run with horses finding trouble. Regardless, Curalina ran well to mow down By the Moon by a neck. Curalina had some trouble as well, as the notes indicate a squeezed start and four-wide trip.

On Sunday, Curalina goes two turns at nine furlongs. Interestingly, her dam Whatdreamsrmadeof never won a route race in her short career. In fact, she lost all five efforts going one mile or longer, while winning two sprints. Luckily, there is evidence from the siblings of two-turn success. For example, half-sister Dream Spinner broke her maiden by over 13 lengths in a two-turn route at Oaklawn Park. Sire Curlin is known as the 2007 Preakness (GI) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) champion.

If Curalina fails, I’m a Chatterbox might become the talk of Saratoga. This filly was on an absolute rampage at Fair Grounds during the spring, before finishing a decent third in the Kentucky Oaks (GI). The question is, can I’m a Chatterbox duplicate her Fair Grounds form anywhere else? At least trainer Larry Jones is confident, otherwise he would not place her in an aggressive spot. In contrast, the actual Oaks winner and stablemate Lovely Maria ran in a GIII event at Delaware Park and missed the board.

Include Betty finished behind I’m a Chatterbox at Churchill Downs. She just won the Mother Goose (GI) at Belmont Park too. Did she win because of a suicidal speed duel? Look at where all the pacesetters finished. Munasara dropped back to last after pressing the pace, and she came into the Mother Goose with high-profile connections and a good allowance win. Embellish the Lace, also a “regal” filly as a half sister to Afleet Express, pressed along with Munasara and only managed to beat one.

Some handicappers do not believe in pace handicapping and only go by the actual finish to determine their form. In other words, while there are handicappers that subtract points from Include Betty for taking advantage of the pace, others simply believe any win is a win. The preference here is to conclude she benefited from the duel and possibly requires another one.

Keen Pauline, who defeated Include Betty at Pimlico two months ago, was a longshot touted on this website for the Black-Eyed Susan (GII). She won at double-digit odds. With only six starts so far, it is difficult to conclude anything about her ceiling. Javier Castellano takes the call for trainer Dale Romans and owner Stonestreet Farms, and it is rare that anyone sees those connections and higher odds alongside. Because late-runner Include Betty breaks to her left in post position five, Keen Pauline has room to move inwards a little bit after the break.

With all these good horses lined up, perhaps take the creative route and backwheel Wonder Gal, who might end up ignored on the tote board. Wonder Gal fails to win often. She finishes in the money almost every time though. Sometimes, picking the right loser is easier.

Curalina is the best on paper by a thin margin. Going into the Acorn, her two-turn effort stood out greatly, and now she gets the chance to prove running at a trip like this fits her game. Curlin’s babies attract attention wherever they run, and if Curalina keeps winning, she will undoubtedly attract a large fanbase with that kind of sire and connections.

Coaching Club American Oaks 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race 10 6:07 PM ET
1 Danette Alvarado/Desormeaux
2 Chide Rosario/Stall, Jr.
3 Curalina Velazquez/Pletcher
4 Conquest Eclipse Bridgmohan/Casse
5 Include Betty Van Dyke/Proctor
6 Keen Pauline Castellano/Romans
7 Wonder Gal Ortiz, Jr./Gyarmati
8 I’m a Chatterbox Geroux/Jones
*Odds Updated Upon Release

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