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Examining the Minnesota Oaks Contenders

By Angela Hermann
As July approaches, stakes season arrives for our young Minnesota-breds. We’ve given the boys their due, but now it’s time to look at the girls. Not many of these fillies have tried a route of ground at this point. July will present more opportunities for us to gauge these ladies’ distance abilities, but for now let’s examine the cream of the 2008 crop at this point:
Polar Plunge – Cam Casby’s homebred out of her stakes winning mare Shakopee is two for two in her career. Her maiden win came at the Fairgrounds in Louisiana, in a wire-to-wire effort at six furlongs at odds of 23-1. After a short rest ‘Polar proved that win to be no fluke, as she took down allowance foes very impressively while rating just a touch off the pace. She is a dynamite combination of looks, pedigree & talent – A very live Gary Scherer trainee for all of our summer stakes.
Smarty Prance – Though the barn does not have many runners at Canterbury, this filly proved her mettle in start number two in Shakopee. Smarty Prance took it to five rivals from the start in breaking her maiden, but has shown tractability to sit off runners if necessary. This granddaughter of Manila has the blood to run all day. Should the sprints not suit her, the Minnesota Oaks may be a perfect fit for the Richard filly.
Esprit De Bleu – Our 2010 Northern Lights Debutante Champion has not recaptured her championship form from last year, but has faced difficult fields in her first two tries of 2011. Mac Robertson debuted this filly in the slop this year, but a return to dry dirt may revive the speedy little chestnut.
It’s Tamareno – This is an unraced filly working out at Arlington Park. We’re throwing this one in based on the strength of her pedigree for a distance and some of the workouts she’s posted in Chicago. Tammy Domenosky, now based at Arlington, trains this filly for Renaissance Stables. There’s no guarantee for this filly to make it up here, but the daughter of Victory Gallop would be a welcome surprise.
Terice – Another newcomer on the scene just broke her maiden, and did it with style. Taking on a full field Father’s Day, Terice had the race won from the start, drawing off impressively. There is some blood to go a distance on this pedigree as well. Mike Kirby’s filly could be any kind, but at this point we do know the talent is there.
Sajani – The only filly that’s proven her affinity for a route of ground thus far is this Kissoon Thoroughbreds bred/owned bay. While the others listed here have earned their merits sprinting, Sajani tried a distance of ground in her second outing and relished the trip. Though she set soft fractions, Sajani exploded away to an impressive four length victory. There are some big hooves to fill for Sajani! Many female members of this family have done well or won in Statebred Stakes short and long – It’ll be interesting to see how she rises to the occasion.
Our Minnesotan three year old fillies are coming up as a strong bunch – it looks like they’ll take us on an exciting ride this summer. Is there anyone I missed? Feel free to comment below if you have any sophomores you feel will make an impact on our MN-Bred filly stakes scene.