Vertical Oak notches second straight win

20 Mai, 2017, 04:49 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier

J. Kirk and Judy Robison's Vertical Oak made the most out of her setup at Pimlico Race Course Friday when she overtook My Miss Chiff a furlong out and kicked clear by 3 3/4 lengths for her first graded stakes victory in the six-furlong Miss Preakness Stakes. In her seasonal bow, Vertical Oak came home fourth in the January 21 Dixie Belle Stakes at Oaklawn Park. "She got away from the gate cleanly".

"She needs things to go her way to show her best", said her trainer, Steve Asmussen, who said Vertical Oak's quick start put her in position to be effective.

"The key was finding that race at Prairie Meadows, so she could remember what she's good at", Asmussen said. "This was a very deep and talented field of 3-year-old filly sprinters and this now puts her right in the mix".

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Graduating by 6 3/4 lengths at second asking at Saratoga in August, Vertical Oak checked in second to stablemate and next out stakes victor Golden Mischief (Into Mischief) in a Churchill optional claimer in September and returned to winning ways with a first-level allowance score beneath the Twin Spires Nov. 26. She had a rough trip the time before, so I was concerned about her confidence. "I waited and waited and then she jumped into the bit, so I knew I had a horse when I asked her".

Grade 1 victor Pretty City Dancer was a late scratch out of the Miss Preakness when she pulled a shoe off in the paddock and then became too agitated to get reshod. However, My Miss Chiff proved no match for Vertical Oak, who instantly powered clear to win by daylight. The $20,000 FTKOCT buy was in a race of her own last time in a sloppy renewal of Prarie Meadows' Gold Finch S., breaking on top and making every pole a winning one en route to a 7 3/4-length victory.

Vertical Oak is the first graded stakes victor for her late, third-crop sire Giant Oak, who died in March from a neurological condition.

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