One of the more intriguing entrants on Louisiana Derby Day, Apr. 1, is sophomore filly Vexatious in the Grade II $ 400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks. In a trio of starts, the impeccably bred bay filly has shown flashes of promise for the top connections of trainer Neil Drysdale and owner Calumet Farm, while facing solid company.
“She’s an improving filly,” Drysdale said. “I liked her race the other day against the colts a lot. She got into trouble and still was able to come home well down the lane.”
Third on debut on Nov. 26 at Del Mar going six furlongs to next-out Grade III winner Shane’s Girlfriend, she closed from eighth of nine fillies at the wire under Kent Desormeaux. Next out, four weeks later, she broke her maiden at one-mile at the same track by a head over Majestic Quality, who three starts later would finish second in Farrell’s Grade II $ 200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 25.
Given more than three months off, the full-sister to Grade I winner Creative Cause and Grade II-winning Belmont Stakes runner-up Destin (Giant’s Causeway – Dream of Summer) returned in an ambitious spot, going two turns against well-regarded colts Battle of Midway and Reach the World, finishing a rallying 5½ lengths behind that pair in third.
“We got held up by the weather this year, so a lot of our horses are coming late,” Drysdale said. “There was just lots of rain (in California) and it’s not like in New Orleans where they’ll train over a wet track. They close them and we can’t train.
“I don’t think she’ll have any problem shipping,” he continued. “She needs to start to learn and it’ll be good for her. She arrives on the 29th and will go into Neil Howard’s barn.”
To get a class-line read on Vexatious, Majestic Quality and Shane’s Girlfriend finished second and fifth in the Rachel Alexandra behind expected Fair Grounds Oaks favorite Farrell. Keith Desormeaux-trained Majestic Quality returns for the Oaks, but will be ridden this time by Richard Eramia in lieu of Kent Desormeaux, who will ride Vexatious.
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