Champion Halfbridled Leads Kentucky Oaks Nominations
The number of 2004 Oaks nominees was up from the 138 horses made eligible for the race a year earlier.
The 1 1/8-mile Oaks, which has been renewed without interruption since the victory by A.B. Lewis and Co.'s Vinaigrette in its inaugural running in 1875, is scheduled for Friday, April 30. It will be televised live on ESPN.
Halfbridled, a homebred daughter of 1990Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Unbridled trained by Richard Mandella, was unchallenged in four races at two. She capped her season by overcoming an outside post to score a 2 1/2-length victory in the Juvenile Fillies at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.
A winin Churchill Downs' premier race for 3-year-old fillies would make her the third Juvenile Fillies winner to also take the Kentucky Oaks. Mike Pegram's Silverbulletday (1999) and Eugene Klein's Open Mind (1989) won both races.
The lightly raced A.P. Adventure, trained by Wally Dollase, won her only start as a juvenile when she took a one-mile race in late October at Santa Anita. She returned to competition in early January with an easy victory in the Santa Ysabel (gr. III) over the same track and followed that with her recent win in the Las Virgenes.
Other major stakes winners nominated to the Kentucky Oaks include:
--George Krikorian's Hollywood Story, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) and runner-up in the Las Virgenes;
--Starlight Stable and Paul Saylor's Ashado, winner of Saratoga's Spinaway Stakes (gr. I), Aqueduct's Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II), and runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies;
--Emory Hamilton's La Reina, winner of the Tempted Stakes (gr. III) and runner-up in the Demoiselle;
--Bruce Lunsford's Madcap Escapade, unbeaten in two starts and a dazzling winner of the Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream Park;
--Stonerside Stable's Miss Coronado, winner of Gulfstream's Davona Dale Stakes (gr. II);
--Irving and Marjorie Cowan's Society Selection, winner of the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park;
--Thomas Van Meter II's Victory U.S.A., winner of the Mocassin Stakes at Hollywood Park and third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies;
--Golden Eagle Farm's Yearly Report, winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita;
--Padua Stable's Class Above, a 16-length winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park;
--Dolphus Morrison's Lotta Kim, runner-up in the Golden Rod Stakes (gr.II) at Churchill Downs and winner of the Tiffany Lass at the Fair Grounds.
Todd Pletcher, who nominated a record 35 3-year-olds to the Visa Triple Crown Challenge, nominated 14 fillies to the Oaks. Four-time Oaks winner D. Wayne Lukas nominated nine fillies, while Mark Hennig made six fillies eligible for the race.
Robert and Beverly Lewis and Overbrook Farm led all owners as each nominated six fillies to the Oaks, including one filly the two parties own in partnership.
The complete list of 3-year-old fillies nominated to the 130th Kentucky Oaks may be viewed at www.kentuckyoaks.com .