No matter where it’s held — Aqueduct, Belmont or Saratoga — the Coaching Club American Oaks always manages to draw top talent.
This year, it has drawn a compact, yet quality-filled field of five. Heading the field is Rick Porter’s undefeated champion Songbird, who flew in this past Tuesday.
Since arriving, she has been described as “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” by her connections. She is doing so well, in fact, that Porter told the New York Racing Association (NYRA) that she even went out for a little jog on Thursday going one and one eighth miles.
“She wasn’t too happy to go back to the barn,” Said Porter. “She probably wanted to do a little more. She’s doing fantastic considering all the travel she’s had.”
The Coaching Club American Oaks could provide Songbird with her sternest test to date, with her primary adversary likely being Acorn Stakes winner Carina Mia. However, while these two top the field, there is still plenty of talent that could topple them both… after all, the race is at Saratoga, the Graveyard of Champions.
As established earlier, Songbird is the class of the field. She is the most accomplished and seemingly has the most natural talent. The one and one eighth mile distance is a bit of a question mark, as she has never been that far. However, she has never shown any indication of slowing down in her prior starts. The biggest question for her will be how she handles the East Coast humidity. California (Somgbird’s home base) can get hot, but humidity can be a whole different animal.
Carina Mia is the most likely to play spoiler to Songbird’s Saratoga splash. She is in the best form of her life right now, coming into this race off of two dominating efforts. Her latest victory came in the Grade I Acorn Stakes. There, she defeated Kentucky Oaks winning Cathryn Sophia and Off the Tracks, who went on to win the Mother Goose in her next start. Like Songbird, this will be her sternest test to date. She too, will also have to prove that she can handle the added distance.
This one seems a cut below the best. She won her season debut in the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, but has been winless since. Her two tries in graded stakes company have resulted in two out of the money finishes.
4-WEEP NO MORE
Does this name sound familiar to anyone? It should. This is the same filly that crashed the showdown between Cathryn Sophia, who was unbeaten at the time, and Rachel’s Valentina in the Ashland Stakes. The pace scenario is somewhat unclear, which makes her role rather fuzzy as well. If she can get a strong pace, there is a good chance she could upstage both of the favorites. If not, she will likely be running for third.
This King of Prussia filly is as consistent and hard knocking as they come. She has taken on the best of her division all year, but always seems to fall short. You can count on her to come as hard as she can in the later stages; however, it is unlikely that her best will be enough to overtake the top two.
That is the field for the 2016 Coaching Club American Oaks. Will Songbird be able to overcome the curse of Saratoga? Will Carina Mia’s form overtake the undefeated champion? Or, will Weep No More pull another surprise out of her hat?
On Sunday, we will all find out.