Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Coaching Club American Oaks: Undeniable Relevance

Posted by Brian Appleton on July 19, 2011


The Triple Crown is one of the most adored and celebrated series in horse racing history. It commands immediate and lasting respect for its winners and contestants, and has a direct impact on championships, breeding, and overall value. Because of the success of the heavily male dominated Triple Crown, an American Triple Tiara series was created as a female counterpart, in the hopes of creating a competitive and prestigious series for the breed’s fairer sex. While the Triple Tiara has succeeded in gaining its contestants great prestige, counting only eight winners in history, it is also very inconsistent. From 1957-2002 the series consisted of the Acorn Stakes, Mother Goose Stakes and Coaching Club American Oaks before dropping the Acorn from 2003-2006 and adding the Alabama Stakes. Reverted back to the original three from 2007-2009 it once again changed for the 2010 running, consisting of the Acorn, Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama Stakes. This year the series started with the 1 mile Acorn Stakes, continued in the Mother Goose Stakes at 1 1/16 miles and will conclude this weekend with the 1 1/8 mile Coaching Club American Oaks.


The Coaching Club American Oaks (gr.1) has been changed just as much as the Triple Tiara itself it seems, being run at four different distances from 9 to 12 furlongs. The very first running in 1917 was contested at 1 1/8 miles but from 1919 to 1941, and again from 1944 to 1958 it was run at 1 3/8 miles. In 1942-1943 as well as 1971-1989 and 1998-2003 the race was a 1 ½ mile test of stamina. From 1990-1997 and 2003-2009 the Coaching Club American Oaks was contested at 1 ¼ miles before reverting to its current 1 1/8 mile distance in 2010.

While the race has seen inconsistencies in its running distance there has never been any doubt as to the quality of fields and fillies that have dominated its historic footnotes. Listed among its glittering alumni are such greats as Top Flight, Black Helen, Vagrancy, Twilight Tear, Shuvee, Ruffian, Davona Dale and Mom’s Command along with so many others. Dark Mirage and Shuvee became the first back-to-back winners of the Triple Tiara in 1968-69 and just five short years later Chirs Evert and Ruffian followed suit. [Read the complete post and discover the prospective field for the 2011 CCAO here on Distaff Runner]


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