An octet of three-year-old fillies will take aim at the top prize in Saturday’s inaugural $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park. The third leg of the Turf Tiara will be contested at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf course and looks to have attracted a very competitive field, including a trio of imposing European invaders.
The rapidly improving Romantic Pursuit (#2) (15-1) could be the controlling speed in the Oaks. The Medaglia d’Oro filly has been in the mix from the break in her last trio of races on the lawn.
Love So Deep (#5) (9-2) was always close in the recent Prix de Pomone (G2) at Deauville, and she might get the jump on the bevy of late runners turning for home in the affair.
$1 Superfecta 5 with 1,4,6,8 with 1,4,6,8 with all = $60
EDISA (#1) (5-2) – Kitten’s Joy filly makes her U.S. debut and brings fine form while drawing well on the rail. Chestnut lass has been first or second in four straight, including runner-up performances in the Prix de Malleret (G2) and Prix de Psyche (G3) most recently. The His Highness the Aga Khan’s homebred rates a big chance with Flavien Prat picking up the mount.
ROMANTIC PURSUIT (#2) (15-1) – Kiaran McLaughlin charge has shown marked improvement since switching to the turf four races back and comes in with a pair of wins in succession. Likely pacesetter in the affair takes a big class jump from the first-level allowance ranks, but she has early speed and form with a pilot upgrade to Luis Saez.
LADY PRANCEALOT (#3) (9-2) – California invader has been consistently good since arriving in the states. Richard Baltas late runner has won or placed in each of her five assignments in 2019, and she might appreciate the added ground today. Joe Talamo will accompany the Sir Prancealot filly in her Belmont bow.
DESERT RIDE (#4) (8-1) – Dangerous contender powered home to a solid stakes win at Woodbine last out for conditioner Neil Howard. Candy Ride filly is three-for-four on the lawn, and the way she finished at 1 1/4 miles most recently hints that added ground will aid her chances. The bay receives a fine rider upgrade to John Velazquez.
LOVE SO DEEP (#5) (9-2) – Japanese-bred daughter of the legendary Deep Impact has steadily improved this campaign and comes off a hard-luck second at Deauville last out. Jane Chapple-Hyam trainee makes her U.S. debut in her best lifetime form, and the sophomore lass will also receive Lasix for the initial time. Win contender gets a rider change to Jamie Spencer.
WONDERMENT (#6) (7-2) – Group 1 heroine is unplaced from a trio of runs in 2019, but she has also faced some fine foes along the way. Nicolas Clement pupil is bred to run all day, so the granddaughter of Montjeu will thrive at 12 furlongs on the Belmont lawn. Three-year-old gets Lasix for the first time with regular pilot Stephane Pasquier coming along for the voyage.
DYNA PASSER (#7) (12-1) – Lemon Drop Kid filly finished fifth in the Belmont Oaks (G1) two back prior to a third-place result in a Saratoga allowance heat. Tom Albertrani charge has shown consistency but will need another move forward to challenge this field late.
ART OF ALMOST (#8) (5-1) – Top-three contender from the barn of Roger Attfield has shown steady improvement this season and is dangerous with another step in the right direction. Dansili filly has been clear in third in both the Dance Smartly (Can-G2) and Pucker Up (G3) of late and rates an obvious chance beneath Javier Castellano.
PHOTO: Belmont Park (c) Adam Coglianese Photography