August 8, 2022

Abel Tasman doing well following Kentucky Oaks 143 victory

The field for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 5, 2017 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

Abel Tasman came out of her 1 1/4-length victory in Friday’s 143rd running of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in good order, according to assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes.

“I just jogged her and she was stroking it down the shed,” he said. “She ate up last night and I couldn’t be happier. She looked awesome.”

The Quality Road filly is scheduled to fly back to California Monday morning with Barnes along for the ride. With no horse to saddle in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on Saturday, trainer Bob Baffert and exercise rider Dana Barnes already left for the West Coast.

Abel Tasman began her career with Simon Callaghan but was transferred to Baffert after she finished second in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) in her sophomore debut on March 4. Her new barn added small-cup blinkers to help her focus and earplugs to help her relax.

“We knew we needed to get blinkers on her before her next start, for sure,” Barnes explained. “She put on some weight and we just made sure she was happy. Mentally, I couldn’t have had her in a better spot. We did add earplugs (removed at the starting gate) because she can be a little aggressive at times. She’ll hear noises and want to jump or get a bit nervous; we do anything we can to keep them calm.”

Abel Tasman will resume training at Santa Anita Park, but Barnes didn’t know what is next for the Kentucky-bred lass.

“I’m not sure what direction we’ll go,” he said. “Normally we wouldn’t go to Baltimore or anything like that. Bob will get together with the owners and decide which direction to go.”

Daddys Lil Darling, who flew home in the Kentucky Oaks stretch to be second by 1 1/4 lengths, will stay at Churchill Downs in trainer Kenny McPeek’s barn for the time being.

“We have some exciting plans for her next start,” assistant trainer Jeff Hiles said. “She came out of the race great and Kenny (McPeek) is firming up the details for her near future.

“When you watch the replay, Mike (Smith aboard Abel Tasman) just got the jump on her. She ran her race and the winner just got a better trip than us.”

Daddys Lil Darling had a length to spare over Oaks third-placer finisher Lockdown, who was doing well Saturday morning trainer Bill Mott reported.

“We’re very happy with her. She gave a good effort,” he said.

Like Daddys Lil Darling, Oaks fifth-placer Salty will stay at Churchill Downs for now. The Mark Casse pupil was making just her fourth career start in the 1 1/8-mile affair.

“She came out of the race well,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “We don’t have any immediate plans on paper for her next start.”

Sailor’s Valentine exited her sixth-place finish in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks in good order. The gray lass was seeking to vindicate her half-length upset of the Ashland Stakes (G1) just one race prior.

“I was happy with the race and she came out of it well, it looks, so far,” trainer Eddie Kenneally said. “It just may have been a little far for her. Around the (far) turn, I was very confident because she was traveling so well and she looked like she could win at about the eighth-pole, but then got tired at the sixteenth. Overall, though, I’m very happy.”

Grade 2 heroine Tequilita was well but tired one day after running seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, according to trainer Michael Matz.

“She ate up but she looks awfully tired this morning,” he said. “(Jockey) Luis (Saez) said she got bumped at the start. She bumped with Miss Sky Warrior and down the backside he said a horse was leaning against her the whole time.

“She took herself back and had one horse beat at the three-eighths pole and then she comes running again. At least she came running again and cooled out fine.”

Matz has no plans for Tequilita’s next race.

“We’ll just get her back and see what she wants to do from there,” he said.

Miss Sky Warrior contested the early pace with 6-5 favorite Paradise Woods before fading in the lane to finish eight. Trainer Kelly Breen discovered after the race his First Samurai filly had lost a shoe during the race.

“I think she lost it during the start,” Breen said. “We have to get (the foot) checked out. The plan was to go to the Black-Eyed Susan ([G2] at Pimlico on May 19) after this, but now I don’t know.”

Paradise Woods backed up to be 11th under the wire and was stiff last night, according to trainer Richard Mandella.

“She was just a little stiff last night,” he said. “There’s a chance she might have tied up (a knotting of the muscles, usually caused by stress). But she jogged (at the barn) for us OK this morning and seems all right. I may have her (nuclear) scanned when we get back to California to make sure we’re all good.  Then she’ll get a little break.

“She’ll get over it,” Mandella said before quipping, “I’m not sure I ever will.”

Ever So Clever and Mopotism, the respective ninth and 10th-place finishers in Friday’s Kentucky Oaks, both came out of their efforts in fine order. So did Jordan’s Henny, 12th, and Wicked Lick, 13th, under the finish.

“A mile is probably her best distance,” assistant trainer D.W. Fries said of the Mike Tomlinson-conditioned Jordan’s Henny. “She will probably get 60 days off and then look for a fall campaign.”

“She came back good; it just didn’t work out,” trainer Brendan Walsh said of Wicked Lick. “I’ve got no idea what I will do with her next.”

Farrell, the 9-2 second choice in the Kentucky Oaks, staked the early pace set by Paradise Woods and Miss Sky Warrior, but faded badly entering the turn and was eased under the wire last in the 14-filly field.

“She hated the track,” said Fernando Canteria, assistant to trainer Wayne Catalano. “She didn’t like (running on) it and she took so much kickback. She couldn’t open her right eye when we got her back to the barn, she had so much mud in it.”

Catalano said that Farrell is scheduled to have Dr. Larry Bramlage look over her.