Saturday, April 14, 2012

Oaks Contender: In Lingerie


Empire Maker has proved to be a top sire of fillies, producing such horses as Acoma, Acting Happy, Mushka, and Royal Delta. He has two of the leading fillies on the Kentucky Oaks (GI) trail, Grace Hall and In Lingerie, the latter of which is much less experienced. Nonetheless, In Lingerie has a logical shot at an Oaks victory.

In Lingerie is bred on the very successful Unbridled/Storm Cat cross, which has produced such horses as the grade one winners Buddha and Magnificent Song, the grade two winners Half Ours and Santa Catarina, the grade three-winning Broken Dreams, and a Kentucky Derby (GI) contender in Bodemeister.

The second dam of In Lingerie is the 1993 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly Phone Chatter, who captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita. Phone Chatter in turn produced the grade two-winning dam of In Lingerie, Cat Chat. In Lingerie descends from a strong dam line, being the direct descendant of five Reine De Course mares. This is female family three, which is most notable for producingthe great horses A.P. Indy, Nashua, Sunday Silence, and Tom Fool.

Though In Lingerie has only started three times, she has been quite remarkable in those three races. She debuted on January 14, 2012 at Turfway Park, setting the pace in the six-furlong race before drawing off to a 6 ¼-length victory. She then shipped south to Gulfstream Park in Florida for a one-mile allowance optional claiming in her first start on dirt. She was left 4 ½ lengths behind by Zo Impressive,who would go on to finish second in the Gulfstream Oaks Stakes (GII) behind Grace Hall.

In Lingerie received a perfect confidence boost next out, when she returned to Turfway Park for the Bourbonette Oaks (GII) for her first start for new trainer Todd Pletcher and new owners Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber. She effortlessly won her graded stakes debut by 6 lengths. The most accomplished filly she defeated was the graded stakes-winning More Than Love, but that filly finished second-to-last. This makes the form of the race questionable and leaves you wondering if In Lingerie is solely a Turfway freak.

However, last fall, there was a certain horse that was considered just a Turfway freak: Hansen. The colt crushed inconspicuous fields at the Florence, Kentucky track before winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Churchill Downs. Also, last year, Animal Kingdom triumphed in the Spiral Stakes (GIII) at Turfway prior to winning the Kentucky Derby. It is clear that horses that perform well over Turfway, though the fields they face may be insipid, tend to run well over the Churchill Downs surface.

This filly clearly has immense racing talent and is blossoming under Todd Pletcher. The trainer has proven that he can condition the winner of the Kentucky Oaks, as he trained the winner of the 2007 edition, the great Rags to Riches. With a highly impressive pedigree, dominant performances, and an accomplished trainer, In Lingerie should not be underestimated.


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