'Special Filly' Venetian Harbor Targets Santa Anita Oaks En Route To Kentucky - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

‘Special Filly’ Venetian Harbor Targets Santa Anita Oaks En Route To Kentucky

Venetian Harbor winning the Las Virgenes at Santa Anita

To no one's surprise, Richard Baltas has Oaks on his mind after Venetian Harbor's smashing 9 ¼-length triumph in Saturday's Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes at one mile, the first race around two turns in the three-race career for the daughter of Munnings.

Sent off as the 3-10 favorite at Santa Anita, Venetian Harbor went to the front and improved her position with Flavien Prat merely hand-riding her into the stretch and taking a long hold late.

According to majority owner Domenic Savides, the 3-year-old filly even lost a shoe sometime during the race.

“She came back really good,” Baltas said Sunday. “I jogged her this morning and she's 100 percent sound. I knew she was very good, because I never had a horse break her maiden like she did (winning by 10 ¾ lengths at 6 ½ furlongs on Dec. 29).

“I thought she was a special filly. I was concerned about the two turns, but she did even better than I thought. She was very strong in the beginning, let those horses come to her, then re-broke. That's not an easy thing to do.”

Asked if an Oaks program was now on her agenda, Baltas said, “probably yes,” alluding to the Grade II Santa Anita Oaks on April 4 and the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs May 1.

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