The longshot trio that dominated last month’s Delaware Oaks (G3) are set to renew rivalry in Saturday’s $200,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3), which will offer qualifying points toward the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Project Whiskey pulled a 38-1 surprise at Delaware, registering a half-length victory over 9-1 chance Dream Marie in what was her first attempt around two turns. Another outsider, Princess Cadey, was 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.
Matthew Williams, who trains Dream Marie, is looking to reverse form with Project Whiskey, but has is eye another filly in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks as well.
“We’re hoping we can turn the tables on Project Whiskey but Lucrezia is a horse that I have a lot of respect for, too,” Williams said. “She finished ahead of us in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and I saw her win a 2-year-old stakes race at Tampa and she was really impressive that day.”
Lucrezia won both the Sandpiper S. and Suncoat S. at Tampa over the winter before finishing second to Swiss Skydiver in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She, and others, turned in sub-par efforts in the June 20 Acorn (G1) at Belmont, which Gamine won by a lopsided 18 3/4 lengths.
Piece of My Heart, fourth in the Delaware Oaks as the 19-10 favorite following a victory in the Gardenia S. at Oaklawn over Comical, seeks to rebound for Mac Robertson. Also wheeling back from the Delaware Oaks is fifth-pace finisher Hopeful Growth.
Eve of War returns to the main track for Todd Pletcher after showing speed and fading in the Regret (G3) at Churchill Downs on turf, while the late-developing Market Rumor jumps significantly in class following a maiden win at Keeneland in her fifth lifetime start.