Last week, trained Dan Hendricks had this to say about Rigoletta, his 2-year-old filly who had run third in the Darley Debutante over seven furlongs at Del Mar on Sept. 4.
"I think two turns is what she wants to do," Hendricks said. "A 2-year-old at Del Mar, compared to a 2-year-old at Oak Tree, they can change a bit."
Hendricks's assessment was spot-on. Rigoletta thrived in her first start around two turns in the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes, winning by a half-length in a 32-1 upset over Tell a Kelly, the winner of the Darley Debutante. The final time of 1:44.03 for 1 1-16 miles was a bit slow, but Hendricks was more delighted with the way she handled the distance.
"I think the reason she was a big price is she's more of a grinder, but going two turns sometimes that grinding works very well," he said.
Rigoletta and runner-up Tell a Kelly, who is trained by John Sadler, are likely to start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. Both would have to be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup program, but their respective trainers said the owners of the fillies would do so later this month.