Miss Behaviour favored in Charles Town Oaks
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Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum’s Miss Behaviour will look to give her owners, trainer and jockey the richest win of their respective careers Saturday night as she faces a full field of nine other 3-year-old fillies in the $500,000 Charles Town Oaks (G3) at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
The Charles Town Oaks, which will be run as a Grade 3 for the first time in its history, serves as the marquee race on the track’s sixth annual Race for the Ribbon card.
After a 2-year-old campaign that included stakes wins in the Sorority at Monmouth and the lone graded score of her career in the Matron (G2) at Belmont, Miss Behaviour has knocked heads with the top 3-year-old filly sprinters in the country this year, banking $260,000 in the process. After opening her campaign with a third-place finish on the turf, the daughter of Jump Start won the Miss Preakness at Pimlico before a string of three second-place finishes in graded stakes company at Belmont and Saratoga. Despite the 1 3/4 length defeat in the Victory Ride (G3), a narrow loss to Sweet Reason in the Test (G1) and second-place finish to Stonetastic in the Prioress (G2), trainer Phil Schoenthal isn’t concerned about the runner-up efforts.
“I don’t think there’s any seconditis there,” Schoenthal stated in a news release. “If that’s the way it goes, there’s no shame in defeat facing that type of horses. A lot of times it’s the trip and the pace and how it shakes out. She’s the kind of horse that gives her best effort and is always right there.”
And despite the only race over the main track where Miss Behaviour has finished worse than third being a two-turn race around a bullring in last year’s Delta Princess (G3), Schoenthal believes the setup on Saturday night may play to his filly’s strengths.
With his filly installed as the 5-to-2 morning line favorite, Schoenthal hopes for an effort that keeps his stable star moving forward in the ranks of the country’s top female sprinters.
Jevian Toledo has the call aboard Miss Behaviour for the first time on Saturday.
While Miss Behaviour stretches beyond six and a half furlongs for just the third time in her career, Bill Mott hopes a cutback in distance will suit Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred filly Size as she seeks her second graded stakes win of the year.
After starting her career running in three consecutive races at six furlongs, Mott stretched her out to mile and a sixteenth in her fourth start and watched the First Samurai filly respond with a 1 1/4 length win over Ria Antonia in the Iowa Oaks (G3). That race at Prairie Meadows — along with the money available in the Charles Town Oaks — gave Size’s Hall of Fame trainer all he needed to point her to the race.
Following the Iowa Oaks, Size went off as the second choice behind Stopchargingmaria in the mile and a quarter Alabama (G1) at Saratoga, but checked in ninth, beaten 15 1/4 lengths.
“I don’t know what happened,” Mott said. “She didn’t want any part of a mile and a quarter. At least on that day she didn’t.”
Junior Alvarado once again has the call aboard Size, who is the 7-to-2 second choice on the morning line.
Saintly Joan and Aqua Regia — the second- and third-place finishers in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) in August — will also be cutting back in distance from their last starts on Saturday night.
Trained by Tom Albertrani, Aqua Regia served notice of her talent earlier this year when she fell just a half-length short of defeating multiple Grade 1 winner Sweet Reason in a March allowance race at Aqueduct. After three more efforts in allowance company, Aqua Regia made her first foray into stakes company when she tackled Untapable and others in the Mother Goose (G1) at Belmont. While she could do no better than fifth there, the filly owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds crossed the wire second in the Monmouth Oaks only to be disqualified and placed third behind Cassatt and Saintly Joan.
Albertrani acknowledges his filly will have to step up to find the winners’ circle on Saturday night, but likes the progress Aqua Regia has made.
Eddie Castro will ride Aqua Regia.
After starting her career in California, where she competed against some of the west coast’s best sophomore fillies, Saintly Joan was sent east in May of this year and transferred to Monmouth based trainer Patrick McBurney. The daughter of Northern Afleet, who was bred by her owners Steven Bajer, Gem, Inc. and Dustin O’Hara, won the Little Silver in her first start for her new conditioner. After a dull performance on the turf in the Desert Vixen, McBurney put her back on the main track in the Monmouth Oaks, where she endured a rough trip that ultimately landed her with the place spot.
Come Saturday night, McBurney just hopes Saintly Joan not only gets a better trip, but also handles the configuration of the Charles Town oval.
Saintly Joan isn’t the only horse in the Charles Town Oaks field having started her career on the West Coast as Amaty Racing Stable’s Nesso also made four of her first five career starts in California, all on turf, including a run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
After being turned over to trainer Sandino Hernandez in southern Florida, Nesso won her first start for her new connections and most recently finished fourth in the Indiana Grand over a sloppy track. However, it was Nesso’s start two races back in the Cash Run at Gulfstream that gives Hernandez confidence. In the six and a half furlong Cash Run, the Florida bred was beaten just three quarters of a length by Little Alexis, who would go on to finish third in the Test, just a nose behind Miss Behaviour.
Abdiel Jaen will ride Nesso who breaks from Post 3.
While some of those in the Charles Town Oaks field have changed coasts, William Sorokolit’s Executive Allure will be making her own geographic transition for the race by leaving her native Canada for the first time. The Ontario bred has made all five of her career starts at Woodbine, with three of those coming on the turf. Saturday night will mark Executive Allure’s first start on a natural dirt surface.
The daughter of Bold Executive, who Sorokolit also bred, broke her maiden as a two-year-old in the $150,000 Fanfreluche Stakes at Woodbine — the first victory in a three race winning streak. That winning streak, which also included a win in the $125,000 Passing Mood Stakes, was broken in Bold Executive’s last start when she checked in second, beaten nearly five lengths, in the Ontario Colleen (G3).
Locally based rider J.D. Acosta has the mount on the Darwin Banach trainee.
Trainer John Servis will send out Stormy Novel for owner Cam Allard in hopes of turning the tables on Miss Behaviour who got the best of her by 1 3/4 lengths the last time they faced off in the Miss Preakness.
After winning the Miss Woodford at Monmouth, Servis decided to give his filly two months off – a decision he attributes to little else but timing.
Kendrick Carmouche, who won the 2010 Charles Town Oaks on Derwin’s Star has the call on Saturday night.
Maggi Moss’ Kiss to Remember will look to give both herself and trainer Tom Amoss consecutive wins in the Charles Town Oaks after taking the race last year with So Many Ways. The chestnut filly by Big Brown comes in to the Charles Town Oaks off a second-place finish on the turf at Indiana Downs and one start removed from a second-place finish in the Indiana Grand. Kiss to Remember, who has won her last two on dirt tracks labeled fast, should get those same conditions on Saturday night.
Paco Lopes rides Kiss to Remember for the first time and will leave from Post 8.
Honey’s Ryan and Pixie Dust complete the body of the race with Discreetly Elusive and Sky Crew on the also eligible list.
Post time for the first on Charles Town’s 12-race Race for the Ribbon card is 5:00 p.m., with the Charles Town Oaks slated for 10:30 p.m. The Charles Town Oaks caps a Pick 4 that begins in Race 8 and includes a pair of $100,000 events in the Wild & Wonderful and Pink Ribbon.