Barn Notes

Wine Princess in the Monmouth Oaks

Posted Friday, Aug 10, 2012

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On the day after her sire joins her dam in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Wine Princess will try to enhance her family’s reputation by notching her first stakes race as well as her first graded event.

The chestnut 3-year-old filly is a daughter of Azeri, who was enshrined in 2010, and is by Ghostzapper, a member of the 2012 class installed on Friday morning in Saratoga Springs, New York.

“She’s got the pedigree,” said trainer Steve Margolis, who shipped her from Churchill Downs to compete in the Grade 3 $100,000 Monmouth Oaks on Saturday. “And she looks the part. She has a beautiful way of going.”

Azeri was arguably the most brilliant female runner of her generation, winning the Eclipse Award as Older Female in 2002, 2003 and 2004 along with Horse of the Year honors in 2004. That same year, Ghostzapper beat her in the Breeders’ Cup Classic during an undefeated campaign that saw him also take the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth on the way to Horse of the Year honors.

Wine Princess, a $475,000 purchase by Becky Winemiller at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, could become the first stakes winner produced by Azeri.

“I’ve had her from the beginning and we’ve taken our time with her. This filly has been gradually improving with each race,” said Margolis, who won the 2003 Breeders’ Cup Sprint with Cajun Beat.

Wine Princess, unraced as a 2-year-old, has two wins and a second from four starts and comes into the Monmouth Oaks after scoring in a non-winners of one other than at Churchill last time out on June 29. In her last work in Kentucky, she fired a bullet of 1:00 flat for five furlongs and the breeze was the fastest of 30 horses at the same distance.

“She won on Oaks day (in a maiden special weight) and then I ran her back on the turf,” said Margolis. “She prefers the dirt. This will be her first time going two turns, but we’re looking forward to this race.”

Wine Princess, who is certainly bred to handle the distance, drew the rail and Proud Pearl, a full sister to 2008 3-year-old Filly Champion Proud Spell, will break just to her outside. Defy Gravity, Final Escrow, Serena’s Song Stakes winner Morrow Cove, and the graded stakes placed Jemima’s Pearl complete the field.

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