Pauline’s Pearl Does Not Disappoint as Fantasy Favorite
HOT SPRINGS, AR (Saturday, April 3, 2021) – Stonestreet Stables, LLC’s Pauline’s Pearl lived up to her 4-to-5 odds and secured herself a spot in the starting gate for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (G1) with her one-length victory in Saturday’s $600,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3).
Pauline’s Pearl raced wide early in fourth place as Ava’s Grace led the field of 3-year-old fillies through opening fractions of :23 and :46 4/5 for the first half mile. The heavy favorite moved within a head of the leader after three-quarters in 1:11 4/5 before shaking clear late to win the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:43 3/5 over a fast track. Coach, the 3-1 second choice, closed late to get up for third.
Take Charge Lorin, Sylvia Q and West Side Girl completed the order of finish. Sun Path was scratched.
“She’s all class,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Has a tremendous pedigree. She’s gotten better every day. She’s gotten faster with each race. She’s getting extremely good at the perfect time.”
Pauline’s Pearl earned 100 points with her victory in the Fantasy and is now ranked fourth on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with a total of 120 points. Ava’s Grace, who had no previous points, earned 40 points for second is currently ranked 12th. Coach earned 10 points for third and is currently on the bubble in 16th place with 26 points. Take Charge Lorin earned 10 points for her fourth-place finish, but is not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. The Oaks is limited to 14 starters.
Pauline’s Pearl, a homebred by Tapit out of Grade 1 winner Hot Dixie Chick, also trained by Asmussen, improved her record to 2-1-1 in five career starts and has now earned $461,500. She returned $3.60, $2.80 and $2.10.
There will be no live racing Sunday in observance of the Easter holiday. Live racing will resume Thursday, April 8 for the start a four-day race week highlighted by the $1 million Arkansas Derby and three other stakes on Saturday, April 10.
Winning trainer Steve Asmussen, Pauline’s Pearl: “With who she is and the confidence that race (Honeybee) gave us, I think Ricardo (Santana) used more of her today, put her in a better position. He said how confident he was around there. He used a little of her away from there, just to not hand it to them. Said down the backside she was traveling extremely comfortably and obviously we’re very pleased with the results.”
“She’s all class. Has a tremendous pedigree. She’s gotten better every day. She’s gotten faster with each race. She’s getting extremely good at the perfect time.”
Winning jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., Pauline’s Pearl: “We had a good trip. Everything worked out. She broke to run, settled down pretty well and I thank God for the victory today. I think she has a great future.”
Jockey Ramon Vazquez, second on Ava’s Grace: “She ran a great race. She had never run that long before. She tried hard. She got a little bit tired. She’s a nice filly. The trainer (Robertino Diodoro) told me to send her, maybe get one or two lengths in front. That was the plan.”
Jockey Martin Garcia, fifth with Sylvia Q: “I had a good trip. The two horses (Ava’s Grace and Take Charge Lorin), they went fast and I was right behind. I had perfect position right on the rail. I know when I asked, the rail was open and she just didn’t respond. It wasn’t her day. But she’s better than that. Today just wasn’t her day.”