Talented horses are entered in the Grade 3, $300,000 Charles Town Oaks, but only one of them has experience racing around a bullring-style oval like Charles Town's.
The seven-furlong Charles Town Oaks is contested around two sharp bends, a race that rewards a combination of speed, stamina, and agility. Tequilita appears to possess all those attributes, and she looks like the favorite to win her second graded stakes this season.
Trained by Michael Matz for his wife, Dorothy Alexander Matz, Tequilita is 2 for 3 in seven-furlong races. She counts wins in a Keeneland maiden special weight and the Grade 2 Forward Gal, and a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Test Stakes. In two-turn starts this year, Tequilita finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks and second in the Florida Oaks, and that's the combination of speed and stay that could be effective at Charles Town.
"She has enough speed to get the job done at seven furlongs," Matz said.
Tequilita, on a steady work pattern since the Aug. 5 Test, has a good draw in post 5 and could be bet below her 7-2 morning-line odds.
Chanel's Legacy is the one horse with a race around a bull-ring oval, and her distant fourth-place finish in the Delta Downs Princess doesn't suggest she loved the experience. Chanel's Legacy could be a pace factor Saturday night along with Astrollinthepark, R Angel Katelyn, and Downtown Mama.
Overture has been the first-call leader in her last five starts, but four came at two turns and all at one mile or longer. Trainer Bill Mott hinted that Overture might wind up just off the leaders.
"She doesn't have to have the lead," Mott said. "But we expect her to be forwardly placed."
Overture won the Indiana Oaks setting a soft pace. Forced to go faster in the Monmouth Oaks, she faded to third, one place behind Sine Wave, who is not without a chance at Charles Town. Sine Wave's good second in Keeneland's Grade 3 Beaumont, a long one-turn race, combined with her solid run at Monmouth suggest she could contend at a fair price.
Munny Spunt has shipped from California for trainer Doug O'Neill and was placed first via disqualification last out in the Grade 3 Torrey Pines at Del Mar. Del Mar, however, is where all three of the filly's top performances came, and at her morning-line price of 4-1 she lacks appeal.
Berned is worth a second look as a closer in a race that has a chance to fall apart late. Berned didn't appear to take to turf in her last-start grass debut, and two races ago didn't stay 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Her 2-year-old season included three solid runs in one-turn starts, and if jockey Feargal Lynch can work out a trip from the fence, Berned might run down the tiring speed.
At least one of four also-eligibles can get into the race since Stay Fond, trainer Todd Pletcher said, will be scratched to run Saturday at Parx Racing. Shimmering Aspen could be a major player were she to draw into the race.
The Oaks is the last of 12 races on a multi-stakes card and has a scheduled post time of 10:18 p.m. Eastern. If the forecast holds, the weather will be ideal.