2020 Yorkshire Oaks (G1) Preview
Photo courtesy of Racenews
Courtesy of Michael Adolphson
Race: Darley Yorkshire Oaks
Grade: Group 1
Purse: Decreased for 2020 to $330,000; $560,000 in 2019
Racecourse: York Racecourse (United Kingdom)
Win and You’re In: $2 Million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)
· Contested over 12 furlongs.
· Located in the north of England in the historic city of York, an area settled first around 7000 BC and founded as a city in 71 AD.
· Relatively flat, quick course with a long straight of approximately a half-mile to the finish.
· Known to be rather fair to all types of running styles.
· 3-year-old fillies carry 124lbs; older 133lbs.
· Four of the last 11 editions have been won by John Gosden, who has two chances this year.
· Four of the last 14 editions have been won by Aidan O’Brien, who trains heavy favorite Love.
· 2000 winner Petrushka finished 5th in the 2000 BC Filly & Mare Turf.
· 2002 & 2003 winner Islington went on to win the 2003 BC Filly & Mare Turf.
· 2007 winner Peeping Fawn’s daughter September was 3rd in the 2017 BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.
· 2009 winner Dar Re Mi was 3rd in the 2009 BC Turf.
· 2010 winner Midday had won the 2009 BC Filly & Mare Turf, was 2nd in 2010 and 6th in 2011.
· 2012 winner Shareta was 5th in the 2012 BC Turf.
· 2013 winner The Fugue was 3rd in the 2012 BC Filly & Mare Turf and 2nd in the 2013 BC Turf.
· 2016 winner Seventh Heaven was 4th in the 2016 BC Filly & Mare Turf and 5th in the 2017 BC Turf.
· 2017 & 2019 winner Enable won the 2018 BC Turf.
Note: OR (Official Ratings) are provided. To give class context on those numbers, sprint superstar Lady Aurelia and champion Tepin were rated 122, Goldikova topped out at 125 and the great Enable is rated 128.
LOVE (Aidan O’Brien / Ryan Moore) – 1/2
Coolmore (Tabor, Smith & Magnier) | OR: 122
Love conquers all—or at least that is what happened last month in the Investec Oaks (G1) at Epsom, where the daughter of Galileo won her second classic and third G1, having landed the 1000 Guineas (G1) four weeks prior at Newmarket over one mile. So dominant she has been in her two 2020 starts, that she is already seen as one of the favorites for Europe’s top middle-distance race, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) in early October—but first she gets a chance to stretch her legs against her own sex in the Yorkshire Oaks (G1) over the same distance of 12 furlongs. The highest-rated 3-year-old of any sex in Europe, she is the shortest favorite of the Yorkshire Ebor meeting and is squarely the one to beat in a race that was won two of the past three years by the great Enable—a foe she will face at Paris Longchamp.
· VIDEO: Investec Oaks (G1) (ITV Racing)
FRANCONIA (John Gosden / James Doyle) – 9/2
Khalid Abdullah (Juddmonte Farms) | OR: 108
One of two in this for John Gosden, Franconia is a blue-blooded Juddmonte homebred by Frankel and a half-sister to 2013 Nassau Stakes (G1) winner Winsili, who was also trained by Gosden. Raced only three times, she was second on debut over seven furlongs of the all-weather of Chelmsford in November and packed away until resurfacing in June at Newbury, where she dismissed rivals in the 10-furlong Abingdon Fillies’ Stakes (Listed). She returned six weeks later on July 26 over this course and won the Lyric Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) against older and appears one who is getting good at the right time. Still, she must step up considerably to take on the heavy favorite.
· VIDEO: Lyric Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) (ITV Racing)
ONE VOICE (Jessica Harrington / Tom Marquand) – 6/1
Craig Bernick | OR: 114
Owned by American Craig Bernick, president and CEO of Breeders’ Cup-winning Glen Hill Farm, One Voice is in top form for the trainer Jessica Harrington, the first lady of Irish racing. A 3-year-old daughter of Poet’s Voice, she has raced just six times and has a Group 3 win (June’s Blue Wind Stakes) to her credit. It was last out, though, that she showed true class, dismissing her 20/1 odds by finishing second by a neck in Goodwood’s Nassau Stakes (G1). Finishing ahead of her was Prix de Diane/French Oaks (G1) winner Fancy Blue, who carries the famous blue and orange silks of Michael Tabor—the same as Love—while behind her were G1-winning elders Deirdre, Magic Wand and Nazeef. She is an improving type who may just be overlooked, but that has not stopped the Harrington yard before in top company. And Glen Hill Farm’s One Dreamer, after all, was 47/1 when she won the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
“One Voice has had a nice season and has been stepping up and running well versus better competition each race,” Bernick said. “Her race in the Nassau was good. I’m not sure if she was passing Fancy Blue with further, but they seemed to be pulling away from the field. Jessie has felt she would be a 12-furlong filly in time, but needed to mature mentally and feels she deserves the chance today. Love obviously looks like a monster, but we are excited for the race and to see how we stack up.”
· VIDEO: 2020 Blue Wind Stakes (G3) (Horse Racing Ireland)
FRANKLY DARLING (John Gosden / Rab Havlin) – 7/1
A.E. Oppenheimer | OR: 110
John Gosden’s second shooter is another daughter of Frankel, Frankly Darling, who made waves earlier this summer with a five-length domination of the boys in Newcastle maiden company. She returned at Royal Ascot and easily beat the girls in the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2), which catapulted her into contention for favoritism in the Investec Oaks (G1). Never able to make an impression on Love that day, she finished a distant third. Owned by diamond magnate Anthony Oppenheimer, the granddaughter of 1999 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Daylami has every right to sparkle again, but must make up a large margin on the favorite.
· VIDEO: 2020 Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) (At The Races)
MANUELA DE VEGA (Ralph Beckett / Rob Hornby) – 16/1
Waverley Racing | OR: 110
The lone older filly of the sextet, 4-year-old Manuela de Vega has done little wrong in 2020 and earned her place in this field with a thrashing of the Lancashire Oaks (G2) on July 5. Prior to that, she defeated next-out Royal Ascot winner (defeating the boys) and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) fourth Fanny Logan in the Pinnacle Stakes (G3) by two lengths. Both of those runs were over soft ground, which she may not get this week, but she does have proper form over faster ground, including a good fourth in the Investec Oaks (G1) astern Anapurna last year. A live longshot by in-style sire Lope de Vega who is coming into the race with a lot of confidence.
· VIDEO: 2020 Pinnacle Stakes (G3) (ITV Racing)
ALPINISTA (Sir Mark Prescott / Ryan Tate) – 20/1
Miss K. Rausing | OR: 97
Yet another daughter of Frankel and granddaughter of brilliant racemare Albanova, a 3-time G1 winner, Alpinista is lightly raced with just five starts, but exits a one-sided win in Listed company just one week ago on the testing undulations of Salisbury. She must improve to be top three here, but she is bred to get the distance nicely and finished up full of run last week.
· VIDEO: Upavon Fillies’ Stakes (Listed) (Great British Racing Int’l)
SYNOPSIS: Love may be patient, kind and without envy—but that doesn’t mean it is a guarantee at 1/2 in G1 company. The top-rated 3-year-old in Europe must overcome at least three improving fillies who are highly regarded by their connections. She must also maintain the eye-popping dominance she has held since the summer began, which can sometimes be a task. Meanwhile, One Voice has every right to vocalize her improvement once again for capable connections and John Gosden’s fierce Frankel fillies must be respected. York can be a trying course with a long stretch requiring perfect timing and a smart ride. In the end, it will be interesting to see if all you need is Love… or if another filly will prove Love is a bourgeois construct.
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