G3 Commonwealth Oaks: Preview, odds, and analysis
Involuntary before the Penn Oaks. Photo by The Racing Biz.
From a Maryland Jockey Club release
Already this year Matt Schera’s Super Allison owns a stakes win and pair of victories against her elders from seven starts. She’ll face her toughest test yet Saturday at Laurel Park, making her grass and graded stakes debut in the $150,000 Commonwealth Oaks (G3).
The 1 1/8-mile Oaks for 3-year-old fillies is one of eight stakes, three graded, worth $850,000 in purses on an 11-race Commonwealth Day program that also features the $200,000 Commonwealth Derby (G2), $200,000 Commonwealth Turf Cup (G2) and five $60,000 stakes restricted to Virginia-bred/sired horses.
A New York-bred daughter of 2010 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Super Saver, Super Allison has made nine career starts, all in her home state and each on dirt, since her debut last fall at Aqueduct. This year at Belmont Park, she broke her maiden April 30 and won an entry-level allowance June 18, each over older horses.
Trained by Carlos Martin, Super Allison returned to her own age group to capture the 1 1/16-mile New York Oaks July 23 at Finger Lakes before finishing sixth following a troubled trip in the Fleet Indian, run at the Commonwealth Oaks distance Aug. 26 at Saratoga.
“She had a really tough, tough trip on the inside. [The rider] tried to come up the inside and they played bumper cars with her all through the stretch,” Martin said. “She was on a bit of a roll and I don’t know if she would have won but it would have been interesting to see what would have happened. They really slammed her down in there about three times and she finally pulled out the last sixteenth and was beaten [6 ¾] lengths for all the money. It was a pretty good race considering the trip she had.”
Though she has yet to race on the grass, Super Allison, out of the Wildcat Heir mare Richiegirlgonewild, shows a pair of five-furlong works since the Fleet Indian over Belmont’s main and inner turf courses.
“I think the filly deserves a chance on the grass. She’s trained well on the turf and she’s bred for the turf. It’s hard to find straight 3-year-old filly races going long. The New York-bred program comes up a little bit tough with the older fillies and mares in the fall,” Martin said. “I’m optimistic the way she’s trained on the turf. She’s had two good workouts on the Belmont infield course to get ready for this race. I’m kind of looking forward to running her on the grass and seeing what we’ve got.”
Martin is third generation horseman whose grandfather was late Hall of Fame trainer Frank ‘Pancho’ Martin and father, Jose, also trained in New York and campaigned three year-end champions. A lifetime student of the game, particularly in pedigree analysis, Carlos Martin’s last graded stakes win came with Roar Emotion in the 2003 Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at historic Pimlico Race Course.
“Super Saver is kind of a versatile sire. The mare, I think she had won on synthetic primarily for [trainer] Larry Rivelli in Chicago. She was a pretty decent mare by Wildcat Heir and those horses seem to run on anything,” Martin said. “[Trying turf] was always in the back of my mind a little bit and after the last race I was kind of looking for another spot. Matt said, ‘You’re going to be in Maryland that day anyway, what about this race?’
“We went back and forth with it and I said, ‘Let me try and train her on the grass and we’ll see how she trains on the turf,’ and both works were good. She seems like she moves really well over it,” he added. “The way she’s trained over it, we’re not opposed to giving her a chance. It’s going to be a good race, I’m sure, but I think it’s a race where she can be competitive.”
Forest Boyce will ride Super Allison from post 8 in the 11-horse field. All fillies will carry 116 pounds.
Grade 3-winning stablemates Noble Beauty and Pricedtoperfection will square off in the Oaks. Great Point Stables’ Noble Beauty, by turf champion and prolific grass sire Kitten’s Joy, is making her sixth career start and second straight at 1 1/8 miles after being promoted to first via disqualification in the Pucker Up (G3) Aug. 13 at Arlington Park.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Pricedtoperfection, who encountered traffic while third in the Riskaverse Aug. 25 at Saratoga, is winless since capturing the one-mile Sweetest Chant (G3) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream.
Feargal Lynch has the call on Noble Beauty from post 5, while Manuel Franco will be aboard Pricedtoperfection from the rail.
Also entered are stakes winners Involuntary, It’s the Truth and My Impression; stakes-placed Princess Princess; Brian Lynch-trained stablemates Miss Nancy and Shiawassee; Broken Bridle and Stella Rose.
- Pricedtoperfection (3-1) — Manny Franco/Chad Brown — One of two graded stakes winner in the field, she certainly has kept the right kind of company. Though she’s done most of her work at slightly shorter distances, she stuck with it to the end in the G1 Belmont Oaks at 10 furlongs, so the trip shouldn’t be an issue. She was a good third last out with a bit of trouble line, and the winner repeated in the G2 Sands Point last weekend. She figures to be running late, and if she can work out a trip from the hedge, could make some noise here.
- Shiawassee (20-1) — Angel Cruz/Brian Lynch — Trainer Brian Lynch arrives with a pair of longshots, including this Artie Schiller filly who was throttled last out in a Woodbine allowance despite a willing finish. She’ll need to show more than she has to date to get a piece here.
- Broken Bridle (20-1) — Victor Carrasco/Gary Capuano –This runner usually cedes ground in the stretch, not an ideal habit when stretching out to farthest distance of her career. Last out was a disaster against PRX allowance rivals, but her presence here indicates we can draw a line through that. This would be a nice spot for rider Victor Carrasco to get his first Laurel win of the meet, but he may need to await another race.
- Princess Princess (12-1) — Jevian Toledo/Ben Colebrook –Globetrotting filly’s last six starts have been at six different racetracks, from Tampa Bay Downs to Woodbine to Del Mar. She’s been away two months since a dismal showing in the G2 San Clemente at Del Mar, but some earlier efforts, including a runner-up effort in a Woodbine stake, suggest her best would put her in the mix. She should be forwardly placed in the early running.
- Noble Beauty (4-1) — Feargal Lynch/Chad Brown — The other Chad Brown runner, this Kitten’s Joy filly was put up to first via DQ in the G3 Pucker Up last out; the horse who crossed the wire first won a stake in her next start. She’s a deep closer who figures to have her work cut out for her when the horses hit the head of the lane, but she closed sharply in the Pucker Up despite a moderate early pace. The lone bad try of her career was an eight-place finish in the Belmont Oaks at the perhaps too-long distance of 1 1/4 miles, but all the rest of her tries at 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles are solid — though she does seem to have the closer’s habit of not quite getting there.
- It’s the Truth (15-1) — Edgar Prado/Graham Motion — This looks to be a heavy lift for a runner whose career-best Beyer is 76 and whose lone prior turf try led to an eighth-place finish — behind two of today’s rivals. Looking for a positive sign? Note that the jock-trainer combo has hit on 24 percent of 50 starts in 2015-16.
- My Impression (6-1) — Jose Ortiz/Shug McGaughey — Toss the last — she stumbled on slick, wet turf, and rider Jose Ortiz wrapped up on her immediately a quarter-mile from home — and this improving filly has every right to make noise here. She’s seen several of these previously, defeating Involuntary in the Christiana and Princess Princess in an allowance while finishing a neck behind Pricedtoperfection in the Memories of Silver. She’ll look for a stalking trip just off the main speed sorts here, and a return to from — which we expect — would put her in the mix at the end.
- Super Allison (20-1) — Forest Boyce/Carlos Martin — This is a tough spot for this Super Saver filly to make her first foray on the lawn, and there’s not much grass in her pedigree: neither her sire nor her dam, nor any of her grandparents, ever won a race on the green stuff. Forest Boyce — winner of the last two runnings of this race, including the longest-priced winner of this event in Nellie Cashman — has the mount.
- Stella Rose (5-2) — Trevor McCarthy/Christophe Clement — Nothing wrong with the favorite’s grass efforts to date: she ran second after some trouble to On Leave, now a G2 winner of four straight races. With Mineshaft up and El Prado down in the pedigree, the distance doesn’t figure to be an issue, and trainer Clement is known for his patience in spotting horses. One of this runner’s assets is her versatility; she’s run good races stalking and closing. Top local rider Trevor McCarthy gets the mount
- Involuntary (10-1) — Daniel Centeno/Arnaud Delacour –The water gets deeper for a solid runner who earned her first stakes win last out with a game effort at Suffolk; the runner-up came back to win a restricted stake at Woodbine. She hasn’t run a bad one yet, but she’ll need to figure out a way to turn the tables on two — My Impression and Pricedtoperfection — that have beaten her before.
- Miss Nancy (20-1) — Gabriel Saez/Brian Lynch — There’s nothing wrong with this runner’s work to date on the lawn — a first and a second from two starts — but she’s going to face a major class test here, and breaking from the far outside doesn’t help.