Vertical Oak Powers Clear In Miss Preakness Stakes
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Judy and Kirk Robison's Vertical Oak bested a field of 12 other sophomore fillies by nearly four length's in Friday's G3 Miss Preakness Stakes, powering clear under Jose Ortiz to win her first graded stakes event. Trained by Steve Asmussen for his second win on the card, the daughter of Giant Oak (Giant's Causeway) covered six furlongs over Pimlico's fast main track in 1:10.06. Our Majesty was second, and My Miss Chiff was third.
An issue with a shoe kept G1 winner Pretty City Dancer in the paddock when the rest of the field went out to the track to begin their warm-up, and eventually the Mark Casse-trained filly had to be announced as a late scratch.
The speedy group of fillies were well-bunched at the start of the race, with My Miss Chiff, Our Majesty and Vertical Oak the quickest of the early runners. Puerto Rican transplant Too Much Tip was well-forward early, and R Angel Katelyn was prominent along the rail. Through a first quarter in 22.61 seconds, My Miss Chiff held her slight lead over her two rivals, but as they passed the half-mile point in 45.54 seconds Ortiz was urging Vertical Oak on while three-wide.
At the head of the lane Vertical Oak held a slight lead, but she willingly extended that advantage while ridden out to the wire. About four lengths behind her was Our Majesty, bottled up a the top of the stretch but re-rallying for the place position. My Miss Chiff had to settle for third, and Too Much Tip was fourth.
Bred in Kentucky by Millenium Farms, Vertical Oak commanded $20,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall yearling sale. She has now won four of her eight lifetime starts, including her last two outs, both in stakes races, and earned more than $240,000.
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