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Fair Grounds Oaks 2015 Features Eight Fillies Contending for Oaks Points

Fair Grounds Oaks 2015 Features Eight Fillies Contending for Oaks Points: New Orleans, Louisiana, also known simply as NOLA, is the place to be this Saturday, March 28, 2015. We have a huge day stacked with eight stakes races for a whopping total of fourteen on the card, including the Costa Rising Stakes, Star Guitar Stakes, Crescent City Oaks, Crescent City Derby, Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (GII), New Orleans Handicap (GII), Fair Grounds Oaks, and the coup de gras of the Grade II Louisiana Derby to close out the evening.

Fair Ground Oaks 2015

Rider Florent Geroux stays up as I’m a Chatterbox looks for a hat trick from post position 6, a spot that should suit her very well, in the Fair Ground Oaks on Saturday, March 28, 2015. Photo: Lou Hodges

The 48th running of the Fair Grounds Oaks will be the ninth race of the day following the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Handicap with a start time of 4:25 p.m., EST.

There are eight 3-year-old fillies ready to run 1-1/16 miles, some of them for the first time in their lives, for a prize of $400,000 and a split of 100-40-20-10 points awarded to the top four finishers on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. This race is a huge stepping-stone for many of these fillies and their connections targeting the first Friday in May.

Last year pitted Untapable, who was quite the force, against five other fillies. Untapable smoked that field by 7-3/4 lengths with Fiftyshadesofgold finishing in second and Unbridled Forever taking third. The $2.00 exacta paid $7.20 and $9.20 for the trifecta. I’m thinking this year bettors should fare a little better with more fillies in the mix even though we have a standout.

Apparently the word is out on I’m a Chatterbox, the striking daughter of Munnings. This filly has done nothing wrong since her transfer to the Larry Jones barn and is undefeated in her two starts for him. There is not much to say here without repeating what most have been chatting about. She’s just an outstanding filly who can go gate-to-wire or come from the back of the pack with a late close. In the Silverbulletday Stakes, she romped all the way on the front end to win by 8 lengths. Next time out in the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, which was the first time in her racing career she wasn’t near or on the lead, she closed from last to finish first by 2-1/2 lengths. Larry Jones is a fantastic trainer and no stranger to winning this race. Rider Florent Geroux stays up as I’m a Chatterbox looks for a hat trick from post position 6, a spot that should suit her very well.

Next we have the full sister to Unbridled Forever, Forever Unbridled, who confused me the first time I saw her name. This statuesque filly looks to reverse the order of finish on I’m a Chatterbox, who has beaten her in the last two races mentioned above. She was second in the Silverbulletday Stakes and was no match that day. In the Rachel Alexandra on February 21, the longer distance put her much closer to the top pair of I’m a Chatterbox and Lovely Maria, garnering a 93 speed figure for herself. She’ll be leaving from the rail under her regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr. for trainer Dallas Stewart.

The Tapit filly Shook Up under Steve Asmussen’s watchful eye gets a nice post sitting outside of I’m a Chatterbox, but can she put it all together this time? She has romped on this track before, winning her maiden race by 13-1/2 lengths and achieving a 98 speed figure. She was fifth in the Rachel Alexandra after running wide and weakening in the stretch. Prior on January 26th, she was rank running up the rail path and lugged in the stretch running second to Lovely Maria on this track going a mile and 70 yards. Albarado stays up, and she has a hot jockey/trainer combo at this meet going into this race.

The daughter of Curlin Danette comes in as a nine-race “maiden” who has yet to win a race. I’m still floored over the handling of her racing career. She has run some bang-up races against some classy fillies, including three Grade I races, one of them being the 2014 Breeders’s Cup Juvenile Fillies, in which she finished in third, fifth, and sixth. Most recently they ran her at a mile on the turf at Santa Anita, and she finished a lackluster sixth. She gets her regular rider Kent Desormeaux up riding for his brother and trainer Keith. Can she hit the board? Sure.Will she break her maiden? I highly doubt it. However, with the Desormeaux brothers at home in the Bayou, strange things could happen. It is horse racing after all.

The rest of the field consists of some really nice fillies with each looking for a breakthrough. There are two Colonel John girls, Jugni and Tachiello. Jugni is stepping up in class after winning a six-furlong race here gate-to-wire on February 14. She gets a jockey upgrade to Graham and has another win on November 22, 2014, at Churchill Downs going gate-to-wire, so I expect her to go to the front and lead them as far as she can. Tachiello is returning to the dirt after running on the turf here for trainer Joe Sharp in her last three outings. Her only win in six races came at a mile when the track went off the turf, so can she improve going back to dirt?

Desert Valley comes in for Loooch Stables and trainer Karl Broberg. Her first race for this trainer was at Oaklawn where she finished sixth at this distance on the dirt in the Grade lll Honeybee. She was previously trained by Ian Wilkes and broke her maiden in her seventh start going six furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Febuary 15, 2015, off of a three-month layoff. She has shown some early speed and they are tossing the blinkers, so we’ll see if she can hit the board running.

The Pulpit filly Audrey’s Double is also coming into this race after breaking her maiden on Valentine’s Day on this track over a mile and seventy yards. She is moving up in class for trainer Neil Pessin, and jockey Richard Eramia stays in the irons, her rider in that February race. It’s worth noting that Florent Geroux, who stays on I’m a Chatterbox, was in the irons in her first five races.

This is a nice looking group of young fillies lined up for the 2015 Fairgrounds Oaks. I’m a Chatterbox looks pretty tough to beat, but her odds won’t be playable for me unless used in a multi-race wager. Can one of these nice fillies upset her applecart? This race will be a “watch only” for me. I hope they each run a solid race and cross the wire safely. Best of luck to all the fillies and their connections.

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Fairgrounds Oaks 2015 Post Positions & Odds
Race # 4:25 PM CT
1. Forever Unbridled 3-1 B.Hernandez Jr./D.Stewart
2. Desert Valley 20-1 C.Hernandez/K.Broberg
3. Jugni 20-1 J.Graham/B.Flint
4. Audrey’s Double 20-1 R.Eramia/N.Pessin
5. Danette 10-1 K.Desormeaux/J.Desormeaux
6. I’m a Chatterbox 4-5 F.Geroux/L.Jones
7. Shook Up 6-1 R.Albarado/A.Asmussen
8. Tachiello 12-1 M.Mena/J.Sharp
*Blinkers off Desert Valley