Nunes’ fillies good to go
CAUGHT midway the last half-furlong of the Jamaica Oaks a month ago, Anthony Nunes' 1000 Guineas winner, I AM DI ONE, revisits the route course on Saturday, taking on older horses in an overnight allowance at nine furlongs and 25 yards.
The regally bred filly, who was expected to chew up the opposition but finished third in the 10-furlong Oaks after easily winning the Guineas, will run 16lb lighter with leading trainer Nunes giving away nothing at the scale, summoning champion jockey Anthony Thomas to ride at 110lb.
Never before this light in three starts, I AM DI ONE is getting as much as 16lb from stablemate DONTATE, who she dismissed at exercise in a six-furlong gallop last Sunday morning, clocking 1:13.0 to his 1:14.3.
At 110lb, I AM DI ONE is bound to dominate the pace and should easily shrug off any attempt by the likes of ROYAL VIBES or UNCLE VINNIE to make her go as fast as LADY BLUE had done in the Oaks, resulting in splits of 50.2 and 1:14.3 for the first six furlongs, which took toll at a mile run in 1:41.4, leaving PRINCESS ANNIE to gobble them up.
Thomas is a patient chap, sometimes too patient, but his riding style should suit I AM DI ONE, a big filly, who is pretty head-strong, which might have fooled Simon Husbands into believing he could have done anything aboard her and still win the Oaks.
Nunes could very well close the exacta with BRUCE WAYNE. However, the five-year-old bay gelding has been pulling double shifts since returning off a three-month lay-up in April. Wednesday's arduous second-place run behind stablemate HOUDINI'S MAGIC was BRUCE WAYNE's third run in three weeks, making Saturday's outing an incredible fourth in less than a month.
Having run 25 and a half furlongs in three weeks, an additional nine furlongs and 25 yards on Saturday could be asking too much of BRUCE WAYNE, which might hand the runner-up spot to DaCosta's ROYAL VIBES, if he's not ridden to force the pace with I AM DI ONE.
Meanwhile, another Nunes Oaks graduate, runner-up PRINCESS AVA, has a relatively easy job in the seventh event, another route event at 10 furlongs. Though PRINCESS AVA is up against colts and geldings, none had factored in either the 2000 Guineas or recent Governor's Cup, whereas she ran well in back-to-back fillies' classics and was the first to pounce on a winded I AM DI ONE and LADY BLUE a furlong out.
The fact that she had stayed on for second in the Oaks, carrying 126lb, carrying 110lb, benefitting from Reyan Lewis' apprentice claim, PRINCESS AVA should have no problem outclassing her six rivals.