Local Fillies Decked Out, Stays in Vegas Headline American Oaks
By Jordan Sigmon
Previously a summer feature on the Southern California racing circuit, the American Oaks (GIT) moves to the final day of the year for the 2016 running and has drawn a large field of 13 headed by the local fillies Decked Out and Stays in Vegas.
Owned by Big Chief Racing LLC, Gene Voss and Head of Plains Partners LLC, and trained by Keith Desormeaux, Decked Out has not run since finishing a troubled last of twelve in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (GIT) over this trip in October. Before that race she was just a head short of winning the Del Mar Oaks (GIT), defeating fellow American Oaks entrant Stays in Vegas. The Street Boss filly’s lone graded victory came in the Providencia (GIIIT) over this turf course in April, that race came over yielding ground which could bode well for her with plenty of rain expected at Santa Anita in the coming days.
Stays in Vegas who runs for Jerry Hollendorfer under the ownership of Jungle Racing LLC, KMN Racing LLC, and LNJ Foxwoods will be returning to her age group after running against older mares in the Matriarch (GIT) last out. In that race she set the pace and faded late to third, raising some questions about her ability to get the 1 ¼-mile distance of this race. The City Zip filly has not won since taking the one-mile Senorita Stakes (GIIIT) over this course in May.
Trainer Peter Eurton has two fillies in the race in grade 2 winner Cheekaboo and grade 3-placed Sheeza Milky Way. Owned by Alesia, Burns, or Ciaglia Racing LLC, Cheekaboo finished fast to win the Honeymoon Stakes (GIIT) by a head, but has failed to hit the board in her three graded stakes tries since. She will be reunited with jockey Mike Smith, who was aboard for that grade 2 win in June. Sheeza Milky Way has not run since finishing third, a half-length behind Stays in Vegas, in the Senorita (GIIIT) but comes into the race off of a bullet six-furlong drill in 1:12 ⅗ on December 25th. She is owned by Alesia, Christensen or Ciaglia Racing LLC.
The remaining two graded stakes winners in the field are Mokat and Queen Blossom. Owned by J K Racing Stable LLC and trained by Richard Baltas, Mokat took the San Clemente (GIIT) by 3 ¾ lengths in July and has been off the board but narrowly beaten in two grade 1 tries since. Queen Blossom is lightly raced and will be making her first U.S. start after being privately purchased by Team Valor International and Gary Barber. The Irish-bred filly who is now trained by Graham Motion is a group 3 winner in her home country.
There are three listed stakes winners running in Barleysugar, Dreamarcher, and Lady Valeur. Rounding out the rest of the field is allowance winners How Unusual, Sassy Little Lila, and Dynamic Mizzes K, as well as the maiden winner Mrs. Norris.
With a purse of $300,000, the 1 ¼ mile American Oaks is carded as the eighth race on the program with an approximate post time of 4:00 pm PT.