Firmer course conditions could help Paved in her quest for a top-level score in Saturday’s $300,000 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, the final Grade 1 of the 2018 racing season.
Winner of the El Camino Real Derby against males and the Honeymoon (G2) in June, Paved was ineffective in her first two tries in Grade 1 company going unplaced in the Belmont Oaks (G1) and Del Mar Oaks (G1), but the daughter of Quality Round ran strongly to finish a half-length second to the circuit’s leading older turf mare Vasilika in the Rodeo Drive (G1) over the American Oaks’ course and distance of 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
Paved was a longshot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) and finished 12th of 14 over testing ground. She was beaten 17 lengths in the 1 3/8-mile race, which was run in a shade under 2:21.
The lightly-raced Californiagoldrush has won three of her four outings for Neil Drysdale, including a half-length win in the Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park when last seen in mid-September. That followed a third in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in her stakes debut, and she’s two-for-two over the Santa Anita turf.
Third in the Sands Point was Colonia, who rebounded to take the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland for her second stakes win of the year. Winner of the $100,000 Hatoof at Arlington in her U.S. debut, the Graham Motion trainee ran fifth in the Del Mar Oaks in her last trip west.
Trainer Kenny McPeek, who captured the 2017 American Oaks with Daddy’s Lil Darling, will be represented by recent Mrs. Revere (G2) upsetter Princess Warrior, while the Chad Brown-trained Competitionofideas invades from her Florida base following a third in an off-the-turf stakes at Aqueduct, which followed two allowance scores.
Earlier Saturday, eight older fillies and mares will travel nine furlongs on the grass in the $150,000 Robert J. Frankel (G3). Multiple graded-placed Fahan Mura, who has five wins and one second from six starts on the Santa Anita turf, looks to rebound from a dull effort in the Matriarch (G1) at Del Mar earlier this month.