Oak Grove conducts specialty card for 4-year-olds
By Kimberly French, for the Kentucky Harness Association
Oak Grove, KY — The second leg of the inaugural edition of the closer series for 4-year-old Kentucky-breds was postponed on Tuesday (June 14) at Oak Grove Racing, Gaming & Hotel due to excessive heat. The events have been rescheduled for Tuesday (June 21). Three $50,000 legs kick off the 10-race card, which includes another $50,000 leg that is a non-wagering race.
On June 7, the first week of the newly instituted series in the Bluegrass State opened with a bang as three new track standards were established in the four contests. Two of those horses return this week.
In the first pari-mutual race, newly-minted track record holder Blue Diamond Eyes is the even-money choice on the morning line in the five-horse field. Last year’s 3-year-old Kentucky champion hit the wire last week in 1:49.1.
The daughter of Captain Treacherous-Aria Hanover was second to Horse of the Year Test Of Faith in the $129,000 Matron Stake and fourth to that rival in the $600,000 Breeders Crown final last year.
She will leave from post position five with Hall of Famer Yannick Gingras in the bike for fellow Hall of Famer Ron Burke.
Blue Diamond Eyes has earned more than $1.7 million for owners Tom and Scott Dillion. She was bred by Brittany Farms of Lexington, Ky.
In the second race, Goldie’s Legacy, who won last year’s $250,000 Kentucky Championship Series final, will leave from post position six in a field of seven with Gingras at the controls. The gelding is 2-1 on the morning line and has earned $414,910 while competing primarily in the Midwest.
Goldie’s Legacy (Always A Virgin-AG-N-AU Bluegrass) stopped the clock in 1:48.4 after taking control right off the wings of the gate. Owned by Pollack Racing LLC and Jeff Cullipher, the gelding is trained by Cullipher and bred by Dave Yoder of Paris, Ky.
Red Right Hand and Komodo Beach will provide Goldie’s Legacy with a stiff challenge. Red Right Hand was the post time favorite in the first leg of the series after racing well earlier in the season on the East Coast. The son of Captaintreacherous-Preppy Party Girl was third in his first appearance at Oak Grove. Scott Zeron will be holding the lines for 2020 Trainer of the Year Nancy Takter.
Red Right Hand is 9-2 on the morning line. He will leave from post position seven and has banked $120,920 this year.
Komodo Beach is a familiar foe for Goldie’s Legacy. The son of Somebeachsomewhere-Imagine Dragon was second by a neck to Goldie’s Legacy in last year’s Kentucky Championship Series final. He was second to again to his rival in the first leg of this series and seeks his first win of the season in this third start.
Andrew McCarthy will be holding the lines behind Komodo Beach, for trainer Noel Daley, who just won his first North America Cup on Saturday (June 18). Komodo Beach is 5-2 on the morning line and will begin his mile from post position five.
Beltassima is the 6-5 favorite in the third race. The daughter of Trixton-Beltane Hanover won her first leg by five lengths in 1:56.1 Owned by Crawford Farms, Beltassima will be piloted by McCarthy for trainer Tony Alagna. This team captured the 2020 Hambletonian with the filly Ramona Hill.
Bred by D. Farm the mare has earned $347,947 in her career. She will leave from post position five in the field of seven and was second in her Kentucky Championship Series final last year.
Awesome Trix makes her pari-mutuel debut for trainer Anette Lorentzon. The daughter of Trixton-Awesome Chrissy won a $35,000 Hambletonian Oaks elimination last year while in Chris Beaver’s barn.
The mare will leave from post position two and is 9-2 on the morning line. Tony Hall will steer the winner of $163,631.
With track record holder, Cuatro De Julio, sitting this leg out, Kildare King headlines the leg conducted as a non-wagering race. Kildare King hung tough in Cuatro De Julio’s 1.51.2 mile and actually trotted a swifter last quarter-mile than the track record holder in his second-place finish.
Kildare King drew the rail in the field of four and will be guided by Gingras for Beaver. The son of Trixton-Exclusivity has collected $112,725 in purse money for owner/breeder Robert Goodman of Lexington, Ky.
The $50,000 third and fourth legs of the 4-year-old series take place on June 28 and July 12. The $150,000 final is scheduled for July 19.
Racing at Oak Grove is conducted on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with first post on Sundays at 5 p.m. and on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10 a.m.