By Ryan Martin
Recent Kentucky Oaks winners Monomoy Girl, Lovely Maria, Untapable, Believe You Can, Rachel Alexandra and Proud Spell all wintered at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Could this year’s Oaks winner also take their path to success through New Orleans?
The $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes is the first of three local preps on the Road To The Kentucky Oaks and features seven 3-year-old fillies all making their sophomore debuts. The morning line favorite for the mile-and-70-yard event is Coffeepot Stables’ Liora who won the Grade II Golden Rod Stakes at Churchill Downs at odds of 291- in her most recent start. In doing so, she acquired 10 points on the Road To The Kentucky Oaks. Trained by Wayne Catalano, the daughter of Candy Ride (Arg.) is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Silverbulletday Stakes and will be guided by jockey Channing Hill. The same jockey-trainer-owner combination won the race two years ago with Farrell who ended up sweeping all three Kentucky Oaks preps held at Fair Grounds. In her start prior to the Golden Rod, Liora broke her maiden at Churchill Downs by nine lengths. She breaks from post five and has banked the highest amount of earnings in the field with $176,580.
Douglas Scharbauer’s Cowgirls Like Us (post six, 9-2, Miguel Mena) will go for her fourth straight stakes victory in the Silverbulletday Stakes. Trained by Bret Calhoun, the daughter of My Golden Song scored a pair of stakes wins over the main track at Retama Park before a 3¼-length win in the Trapeze Stakes at Remington Park on December 16. She is the most experienced filly in the Silverbulletday field with six starts under her belt and has acquired a total of $151,185 in career earnings.
Maryland invader Needs Supervision (post five, 3-1, Joe Rocco, Jr.) makes her stakes debut in the Silverbulletday for trainer Jeremiah O’Dwyer after a five-length romp against winners at Churchill Downs on November 24, where she was 37-1. Owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stables and Madaket Stables, the daughter of Paynter was a second out maiden winner on November 2 at Laurel Park going seven furlongs.
Completing the field are Fun Finder (post one, 12-1, Brian Hernandez, Jr.), Grandaria (post two, 9-2, Corey Lanerie), Eres Tu (post three, 8-1, Ricardo Santana, Jr.), and Mandy Blue (post seven, 9-2, Florent Geroux).
The Silverbulletday Stakes is named in honor of Mike Pegram’s multiple Eclipse Award-winning filly who captured the 1999 Kentucky Oaks for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. The daughter of Silver Deputy prepped for her Oaks triumph at the Fair Grounds when she took the Grade III Davona Dale (now known as the Grade II Rachel Alexandra) as well as the Gr. III Fair Grounds Oaks. She was inducted into Racing’s Hall of Fame in 2009, the same year as her trainer.