The winter months didn’t particularly suit the favorite for today’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks.
Whether it was the weather, growing pains, the location or simply the time of year, Stopchargingmaria just wasn’t in the same form that put her in the conversation as one of the best members of her generation last fall.
It wasn’t for lack of trying.
Todd Pletcher threw a few things at Mike Repole’s Tale of the Cat filly during the winter months out of his base at the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. She stayed close to home and shipped out of town for races. Neither move worked as Stopchargingmaria finished off the board in the Grade 2 Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park.
“I don’t know what happened, she didn’t seem to thrive this winter,” Pletcher said. “It took a while for her to come around in her coat, we ran her and she didn’t run well, we thought, well, the track is speed favoring. We shipped her to Oaklawn, she ran better.”
Better, but not good enough. Pletcher pulled the plug on the Kentucky Oaks, even though she probably earned enough points to make the gate if the race was full. The Oaks wasn’t oversubscribed – it wasn’t as only 13 of a possible 14 entered and only 12 wound up starting – but there was no sense pressing the matter.
Read the rest of the Coaching Club American Oaks preview in Sunday’s edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Keeneland Sales.