Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Two for Tapit: Zazu and Joyful Victory

Posted by Brian Appleton on June 23, 2011

Zazu - Benoitphoto.com

Plum Pretty will miss the Mother Goose Stakes (gr.1) on Saturday at Belmont Park due to a fast-passing illness, but she will not miss her chance to step back into the national spotlight as trainer Bob Baffert wasted absolutely no time in entering his star filly in another graded stakes race all the way across the country in California. The Hollywood Oaks (gr.2) now appears at least as strong, if not stronger, than the Mother Goose field. While Baffert is bringing the Kentucky Oaks winner to the table in the Hollywood Oaks, it’s John Sadler who could be bringing the biggest player of all.

Grade 1 winner Zazu is the filly to beat in the Hollywood Oaks in my humble opinion. She and Plum Pretty head a short field of just five fillies and are the only two graded stakes winners in the field. Zazu was last seen finishing a late closing third in the Kentucky Oaks (gr.1) after navigating the final turn very wide and taking longer than usual to hit her best stride. She is back on her own turf in the Hollywood Oaks and has been training exceptionally well the last few weeks. Her last two works were identical six furlong moves completed in 1:13.40 at Hollywood Park that each ranked as the second fastest moves of the day for the distance. She has always faced the very best of the best and with the smaller field this time, things could set up perfectly for her to make a return to the winners circle.

Plum Pretty has to be considered “the big gun” of the Hollywood Oaks as the Kentucky Oaks winner, but she is still less enticing to me than Zazu. She’s making just her sixth lifetime start Saturday and has a record of three wins and two thirds in her five career starts so there’s still a lot of room for her to improve. The best could easily still be in the future for this talented Medaglia d’Oro filly and with Baffert pulling the strings and Garcia holding the reins she has a great shot at super-stardom. She’s been training just as well as Zazu, especially her last move on Sunday when she completed seven furlongs in 1:24.40. Hollywood Park was the scene of her maiden victory so the surface is no concern. [Read the complete post on Distaff Runner at Horse Racing Nation]

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