August 13, 2022

Martha Washington draws competitive field of nine

Chanel's Legacy and jockey Alex Birzer won the Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Saturday, January 21, 2017 (c) Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography

A well-matched group of nine sophomore fillies will line up on Saturday in the $125,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The one-mile contest is the final race in the Prep Season portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races, and will award 10-4-2-1 points to the top four finishers.

Looking to grab the major share of those points is Chanel’s Legacy, who made her 2017 debut a 2 1/2-length victory in the Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn. The Lynn Chleborad trainee will face a number of familiar faces in the Martha Washington; she defeated the returning My Sweet Stella in the Dixie Belle and ran fourth to Perfect Wife and Torrent in the Trapeze Stakes two back.

The gray daughter of Dominus keeps Alex Birzer in the saddle as she goes for her second straight stakes win.

Perfect Wife romped by five lengths in the December 11 Trapeze most recently at Remington Park for trainer Kenny McPeek. Corey Lanerie has been aboard for the Majesticperfection filly’s two career wins thus far and retains the mount here. Torrent sandwiched her runner-up effort in the Trapeze between a six-length maiden victory and a 2 1/4-length allowance/optional claiming score on January 20. Trainer Ron Moquett has tabbed Ramon Vazquez to pilot the Blame filly on Saturday.

My Sweet Stella rallied from the back of the Dixie Belle field to be second in only her third try on the dirt. The D. Wayne Lukas pupil posted her best showing on the main track in that contest, following a pair of well-beaten dirt efforts and four other races on the turf. The Eskendereya filly gets Carlos Marquez Jr. aboard in this spot.

Lovely Bernadette will be looking to kick off her sophomore campaign with a win for trainer James DiVito. The bay daughter of Wilburn captured the one-mile Rags to Riches Stakes at Churchill Downs on October 30 before fading to fifth in the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) in her juvenile finale last out. Chris Landeros will be in the irons for the first time on Lovely Bernadette as she attempts to get back on the winning track.

Ever So Clever did better than Lovely Bernadette in the Golden Rod last out, overcoming a bad start to rally for third under returning rider Ricardo Santana Jr. The Medaglia d’Oro filly also finished a half-length second in the Pocahontas Stakes (G2) and broke her maiden by 7 1/4 lengths under the Twin Spires last year.

Benner Island and Queen Bernardina have run against each other in their past two starts. The former finished seventh and the latter eighth in the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) last October at Keeneland, then returned in an allowance/optional claimer at Churchill Downs on November 26. In that one-mile contest Benner Island scored by 3 3/4 lengths while Queen Bernardina was a well-beaten 10th. Joe Rocco Jr. has the call on Benner Island, who gets first-time Lasix in this spot, and Channing Hill has piloting duties on Queen Bernardina.

The Martha Washington field is completed by Tap of War, a 4 1/2-length debut maiden winner last July 23 at Prairie Meadows.