British Idiom Works at Oaklawn as Targets Dwindle
RSS Feeds Sunday, March 29, 2020

In a world changing by the minute, the champion juvenile filly of 2019 took strides toward an uncertain future March 28 at Oaklawn Park.

A four-furlong drill in :48 2/5 may have been business as usual for British Idiom, a level-headed filly who worked over the Arkansas surface for the first time after shipping in from Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots earlier this month. 

But for her connections, watching the daughter of Flashback round back into form is a mixed blessing with the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1)—the ultimate target of the first half of her her 3-year-old season—moved from May 1 to Sept. 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After rerouting from a planned start in the Ashland Stakes (G1) when Keeneland canceled their spring meet because of the virus, the immediate goal for British Idiom is now the May 1 Fantasy Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn. The Arkansas track has been racing without spectators since March 13, but nevertheless has been able to keep its starting gate in operation as tracks across the country have suspended action. Still more than a month away in a highly uncertain environment, the Fantasy remains the lone graded stakes on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks available to contenders for the foreseeable future.  

British Idiom broke her maiden at first asking last summer at Saratoga Race Course for trainer Brad Cox, then won the Darley Alcibiades Stakes (G1) at Keeneland before shipping to California to take the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita Park. She was second last out in her season debut, the Feb. 15 Rachel Alexandra Stakes Presented by Fasig-Tipton (G2) at Fair Grounds.

"We had her on track for the Ashland and would have hoped to run her there, but now the Fantasy is our only option," said Crow, who was instrumental in purchasing the filly for a mere $40,000 from the Warrendale Sales consignment to the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale. "Obviously the game plan was to have her peak in May. That's why she was a little rusty off the bench and ran second (in the Rachel Alexandra), but we weren't worried about it. Third race off the layoff would have been the Oaks, ideally, but it's something everybody's dealing with.

"Brad has done such a good job campaigning her, we will let him guide us through the next several months. I think now we're going to see a lot of horses come into play in the second half of the season. Maybe the favorite for the Kentucky Oaks hasn't even broken their maiden yet."

One plus for British Idiom's connections is her even-keel nature, a major asset should the filly wind up in a holding pattern, unable to race until the world finds its new normal.

"She's a really level-headed filly; shipping isn't ever a big deal for her, so she settled right in at Oaklawn and is doing really well," Crow said. "I texted with Jorje (Abrego), Brad's assistant at Oaklawn, and he said she worked really good and he's really happy with her. Just physically, she's really developed, and it seems like she's getting bigger and stronger each week."

British Idiom races for Michael Dubb, Stuart Grant's The Elkstone Group, Sol Kumin's Madaket Stables, and Bethlehem Stables. The same connections, albeit Kumin's Monomoy Stables, own champion Monomoy Girl, who has not raced since her victory in the 2018 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Tapizar has been training toward a return to the races in 2020 after going to the sideline multiple times last season, and last worked March 26 at Keeneland, where she went four furlongs in :49 2/5. Kumin also owns a share in Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) winner Wells Bayou, in partnership with Clint and Lance Gasaway and Wonder Stables. All three are trained by Cox.

"Monomoy Girl is breezing, but I don't know what races we'll be able to be pointing her for," Crow said. "She's doing really well, but we don't know when she'll be able to run. And for British Idiom, if she does get to run in the Fantasy, where do you go from there? Right now we have no idea. We just have to take things day by day and try not to get too far ahead of ourselves."

 - Article courtesy of the BloodHorse

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