AMERICAN OAKS S. | PURSE: $350,000 | FILLIES | 3-YEAR-OLD | GRADE 1 | 1 1/4-MILES (TURF)
Hronis Racing's Lady of Shamrock, whose fast finish fell just short in the Grade 2 Honeymoon Handicap on June 9, comprehensively turned the tables on a bigger stage in Saturday's Grade 1, $350,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park. Deftly rallying up the fence in a tight spot for Mike Smith, the 3-2 favorite got through to the inside of Best Present Ever and shot clear by an impressive 1 1/4 lengths. Honeymoon winner My Gi Gi found the shoe on the proverbial other foot this time, and was along belatedly for second.
Lady of Shamrock was the highlight of a big day for trainer John Sadler, who sent out Switch to win the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap and who saddled the respective top two in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship, Scherer Magic and Carson's Crown.
Reserved toward the rear early, Lady of Shamrock found herself several lengths off the slow pace set by English shipper Nayarra through splits of :25 1/5, :50 2/5 and 1:15 3/5 on the firm turf. Fellow Brit Miss Cato stalked enthusiastically, while Best Present Ever tracked on the inside, and Colonial Flag crept up to take closer order on the outside.
When Nayarra drifted out rounding the far turn, Best Present Ever seized the opportunity, and dove through to take the lead at the mile mark in 1:39 4/5. The English fillies began to tread water, as did Colonial Flag, but Lady of Shamrock was gaining ominously in the slipstream of the new leader.
Straightening up for the drive, Lady of Shamrock took advantage of a narrow gap left by Best Present Ever, and barreled through with authority. The Scat Daddy filly drew off to complete 1 1/4 miles in 2:03 and rewarded her loyalists with payouts of $5, $3 and $2.20.
My Gi Gi, who had gotten first run on Lady of Shamrock in the Honeymoon, found herself trying to play catch-up on Saturday. She struck top gear too late to trouble the winner, but rolled past Best Present Ever by 1 1/2 lengths for second. Miss Cato tired to fourth, trailed by Stormy Lucy, Left a Message, Nayarra and Colonial Flag.
Lady of Shamrock's fourth career stakes win advanced her scorecard to 9-5-1-1, $465,400. Conditioned at two by Ronny Werner, she broke her maiden in her third try on the turf last November at Churchill Downs, and was later purchased privately and transferred to Sadler. Lady of Shamrock made a big impression in her Southern California debut when inhaling the field in the December 30 Blue Norther Stakes.
An early nominee to the Triple Crown, Lady of Shamrock auditioned on dirt in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes January 28, but didn't appear to enjoy the surface switch and checked in a distant third. She regained the winning thread back on turf, taking the March 10 China Doll and the Grade 3 Providencia on April 7, before her near-miss at odds of 1-2 in the Honeymoon.
Bred in Kentucky by Grovendale Sales, Lady of Shamrock RNA'd for $35,000 as a Keeneland November weanling. She sold for $80,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling, but brought only $11,000 at Fasig-Tipton Midlantic the following May as a two-year-old in training. Produced by the Blushing John mare Blushing Issue, she's a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Smooth Jazz and the multiple stakes-winning She's Sensational. This is the family of Grade 1 winner Royal Chariot and Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile upsetter Dakota Phone.