Where’s My Ring, Leslie’s Rose Cruise; Kentucky Oaks Bound

A trio of final preps closed out the road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1), with Where’s My Ring winning the Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct and Leslie’s Rose victorious in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland to secure their spots in the premier race for 3-year-old fillies.

Final Oaks preps decide top 14 Oaks qualifiers

Nothing Like You

In the third and final Oaks prep, Bob Baffert’s Nothing Like You and Kinza ran 1-2 in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) on Saturday, but are ineligible to earn Oaks qualifying points since the Hall of Fame trainer remains suspended by Churchill Downs, Inc., due to the Derby DQ of 2021 Medina Spirit first-place finisher after testing positive for a medication overage the day of the race.

For the record, though, Frankie Dettori was aboard Nothing Like for his fifth of what would be a Santa Anita-record setting six wins in a row.

Back to the Oaks, run the day before the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 3. The field is limited to 14 starters based on qualifying points accumulated over dozens of prep races.

All three races offered points of 100-50-25-15-10 to the top five finishers eligible for the Oaks.

Here’s a recap:

$200,000 Gazelle (G3), Aqueduct: Where’s My Ring

Breaking her maiden in style, Where’s My Ring topped Regulatory Risk by 4 ¼ lengths to put new owner Michael McMiIlan in the Oaks.

“It’s not about breaking the maiden, we wanted to be in the Oaks, that was our goal,” McMillan. “I just got into horse racing, I met (trainer) Val and Kelly Brinkerhoff and I told them ‘I’m not in this for little races, we are in it for the big races.’ I told them it was going to be the Kentucky Oaks. Everyone was shocked that we came here, but our whole team figured out the best race for us.”

Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Where’s My Ring ($7.10 for a $2 win bet) was the 5-2 favorite in 1 1/18-mile race.  With 100 points for the win the filly is second on the leaderboard with 125 points. The leader is Tarifa, trained by Brad Cox.

Where’s My Ring

Where’s My Ring was 0-for-7 in California, and the decision to come East and pass on going against Kinza and Nothing Like You in the Santa Anita Oaks paid off.

“I’m ecstatic to get a chance like this. I come from the bush tracks in Utah and to get to do this is pretty awesome,” Brinkerhoff said. “It’s his [McMillan’s] first horse and I’ve had one in the Breeders’ Cup where we ran third. But this filly has a lot of potential.”

Regulatory Risk was second and earned 50 points to move 10th on the leaderboard with 55 points. Gin Gin was third for 25 points to move to seventh on the leaderboard with 66 points.

$600,000 Ashland Stakes (G1), Keeneland: Leslie’s Rose

Leslie’s Rose is Oaks bound for trainer Todd Pletcher after her three-length victory in the Ashland on Friday (April 5) at Keeneland’s opening day.

“We are trying to sort things out, and we will let the dust settle,” Pletcher, who also trains likely Derby favorite Fierceness, said. “The Oaks and Derby horses have to be on the grounds by 11 a.m. on April 27.”

Pletcher’s other Oaks contender was Candied, who finished fourth and is an unlikely starter in the Oaks with a total of 34 points, currently 18th on the leaderboard.

Two-year-old champion Just F Y I clinched her spot in the Oaks with a solid runner-up finish for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

$300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2), Santa Anita: Nothing Like You

Nothing Like You ($16.40), with Frankie Dettori in the irons, dominated stablemate and 1-2 favorite Kinza in winning the Santa Anita Oaks for Baffert.

Dettori and Nothing Like You saved ground while stalking the pace, surged through along the rail at the top of the stretch and then drew off to win by 7 ½ lengths.

Corposo was third and 2-1 second choice Kopion was fourth.

“I was fully loaded at the quarter pole. I just needed a little bit of room, and she took off. What can you say about Baffert? He’s a genius,” Dettori said. “We have a good working relationship. He trains them and I ride them.”


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