May 20, 2022

Chocolate Martini faces five in Summertime Oaks

Chocolate Martini just holds off Eskimo Kisses in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) on Saturday, March 24, 2018, with jockey Mitchell Murrill aboard (c) Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography

Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) heroine CHOCOLATE MARTINI takes on five rivals Saturday at Santa Anita Park when lining up in the $200,000 Summertime Oaks (G2).

The Tom Amoss trainee was last seen finishing fifth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs at 15-1. That followed a head victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks at 13-1 and a neck score in an allowance/optional claiming score at Fair Grounds at 27-1. The Broken Vow filly is the likely favorite in this field, though, as she makes her West Coast debut under new jockey Flavien Prat.

Looking to make a splash is OLLIE’S CANDY, who is two-for-two thus far in her career for trainer Bill Morey. The dark bay daughter of Candy Ride romped by 6 1/2 lengths in her April 22 debut before taking an allowance/optional claimer on May 13 by 7 3/4 front-running lengths. However, both of her starts have come over the synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, so the sophomore lass will have to transfer her stellar form to the main track at Santa Anita. Kent Desormeaux has the first-time call.

“She’s a nice filly and she’s training great down here,” Morey said. “We’re excited. Candy Rides seem to do it all. They go short, long, dirt, turf, anything. She won on synthetic at Golden Gate so I think she’ll be fine on the dirt. She’s trained well on it here.

“Kent (Desormeaux) has worked her a couple times and he likes her, so we’re ready.”

THIRTEEN SQUARED is seeking a first stakes win after placing in both the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) and Santa Anita Oaks (G1) going the Summertime Oaks distance of 1 1/16 miles for trainer Bob Baffert. The Liaison filly sandwiched those two contests between fourth-placings in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) and Angel Flight Stakes, and gets Tyler Baze aboard here.

EXUBERANCE and FOOL’S PARADISE ran in the Santa Anita Oaks two back, finishing fourth and fifth, respectively. Exuberance followed up with a subpar last-of-seven finish while trying turf for the first time in the Senorita Stakes (G3) on May 5, while Fool’s Paradise captured an allowance/optional claimer by 5 1/4 lengths on May 18. The Ian Kruljac-trained Exuberance also ran second in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) and gets Gary Stevens aboard for the initial time Saturday. Trainer Ben Cecil has tabbed Tyler Conner to pilot Fool’s Paradise.

Stakes debuter ZUSHA completes the Summertime Oaks field for trainer Gary Mandella. The Congrats chestnut broke her maiden two back at Santa Anita sprinting six furlongs and stretched out an extra furlong for a third-place run while facing winners for the first time on May 20. Drayden Van Dyke retains the mount.