Midlantic-breds in Kentucky Oaks Day stakes

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Friday, May 6 features the 148th running of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. The undercard consists of six graded stakes in a row including the $500,000 Grade 2 Twin Spires Turf Sprint run right before the Oaks.

The Turf Sprint features the only Midlantic-bred stakes runner on the card, but it is a very accomplished one in Caravel, who is the second choice in the thirteen horse field at morning line odds of 5/1.

Caravel is a five-year-old Pennsylvania-bred who will take on the boys in this 5 ½-furlong sprint. Her last effort against non-fillies came in November in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, where she finished a disappointing last. But a recent bounce back effort at Turfway puts her in good form entering this test.

With a lifetime record of eight wins in thirteen tries, this gray mare by Mizzen Mast-Zeezee Zoomzoom, by Congrats has put forth strong, winning efforts more often than not. She’s a Grade 3 winner of $448,777 in her career.

Caravel was bred in Pennsylvania by Elizabeth M. Merryman, and is owned by Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel, and Madaket Stables LLC. Previously owned by Merryman and Bobby Flay with Graham Motion as the trainer, this mare was sold for $500,000 to its new owners at the Fasig Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale and was switched into the barn of Brad Cox following the purchase.

She enjoyed her greatest success when owned and trained by Merryman herself. In the spring and summer of 2021, she ran off three straight stakes wins, topped by a score in the Grade 3 Caress at Saratoga.

Cox trained her to a wire-to-wire victory in the Queen Stakes on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park in March, which was a change in pace to her previous off-the-lead running style. For this step up in class, Caravel picks up the services of Tyler Gaffalione in the irons, and will need to prove that this time around, she is ready for the challenge of taking on the older boys.

Arrest Me Red is the tepid 4-1 morning line choice in a race that’s drawn 13 runners.

Caravel won the 2021 Grade 3 Caress. Photo by NYRA.