Classy Kiwi filly Puttanesca will leave New Zealand next Monday in readiness for the US$700,000 American Oaks (G1) at Hollywood Park on Sunday, July 5.
Puttanesca (3f Bertolini – Tesoro by Prized) received an invitation from the United States after winning the G2 Royal Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.
Hollywood Park officials invited four international representatives to the 2000m event in California. Dermot Weld, who won the 2003 American Oaks with Dimitrova, will return with Rare Ransom (Oasis Dream) who was fourth home in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and Dance Pass (Sadler’s Wells) who was runner-up in the Martin Molony Stakes (LR) at Limerick last week.
Champion English trainer Henry Cecil could also dispatch Apple Charlotte (Royal Applause), a recent winner of the Swettenham Stud Fillies’ Trial (LR).
Prominent American-based fillies on the list of invitees include Mrs Kipling, an Irish bred Exceed and Excel filly who won the G3 Senorita Stakes on debut in the US.
Puttanesca is coming off a last-start second to Minqar Qaim (Zabeel) in the Bob Tait Memorial Cup (1600m) at Ruakaka last Wednesday, June 14. She had the race won until collared right on the line.
Puttanesca is prepared by Wayne Hillis who travelled to the US with Boulevardofdreams (Daggers Drawn) in 2004. She was unplaced but the Matamata trainer believes Puttanesca will be a better candidate this year.
“The race suits a 1600m – 2000m horse with a turn of foot, rather than a grinding stayer,” Hillis said. “Hollywood Park is a tight, turning track and she’s definitely a good chance.”
The most recent Australasian filly to contest the American Oaks was the David Hayes-trained Anamato who was third in 2007.
Hillis will return home without Puttanesca because the filly has been sold by owner-breeders Scott and Katie Eagleton to Hong Kong-based Y K Wong who races several horses in the United States.
Glen Boss has been booked to partner the New Zealand-trained filly and he plans to ride in several races at Hollywood Park prior to the Oaks.
Puttanesca is by former Rich Hill shuttler Bertolini and her dam is a winning daughter of Waikiki (Crested Wave) who was a two-time winner of the Te Aroha Breeders’ Stakes (G2).