Multiple graded stakes winner Cathryn Sophia, the third-place finisher in the Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 9, is back under consideration to start in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6, trainer John Servis said Thursday.
Servis had initially planned on pointing Cathryn Sophia to the Grade III Eight Belles Stakes going 7 furlongs at Churchill Downs on the Oaks undercard. With undefeated champion Songbird being declared out of the Kentucky Oaks due to a low-grade fever this week, the dynamic of the nation’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies has drastically changed — and so too has Servis’ mind, potentially.
“It’s a possibility. With Songbird being out now, that certainly changes the complexion of the race,” Servis said. “(Cathryn Sophia) will breeze tomorrow (at Keeneland) and we’ll probably make a decision after she works.”
Cathryn Sophia came into the Ashland unbeaten and unchallenged in her four prior starts, including victories in the Grade II Forward Gal Stakes and Grade II Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile Ashland marked her first try around two turns and Servis initially said he was concerned the Oaks’ 1 1/8-mile distance would be beyond her reach.
In the Ashland, Cathryn Sophia hooked up with Grade I winner Rachel’s Valentina in a tremendous stretch battle and both were passed in the final strides by 30-1 long shot Weep No More, who prevailed by a neck.
“I talked to (jockey) Javier (Castellano) and I feel a lot better about it after talking with him,” Servis said. “Looking back at the race, we got beat a half a length to two fillies that are probably going to be the top choices or certainly among the top five choices in the Oaks. We’re certainly in the mix and we’ve trained for this race since the first of the year so, with Songbird being out, that certainly makes a big difference.”
Servis added he could push Cathryn Sophia’s work back to Saturday should inclement weather hit Friday morning.
Owned by Cash is King LLC, Cathryn Sophia has won four of her five career starts with earnings of $385,520. The bay daughter of Street Boss is currently sixth on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard with 80 points. The top 14 point earners nominated to the race will earn a spot in the starting gate for the Kentucky Oaks.