Jockey Club Oaks win for McKulick
The Grade 1-winning Frankel filly returned to the winner's enclosure on Saturday in the Gr.3 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes at Aqueduct.
Taken from the Thoroughbred Daily News, 18th September 2022:
Justifying heavy favouritism, she was away well from her inside draw. She settled in fourth early, running off the fence through opening splits of :24.35, :48.21 and 1:12.79. Moving up into a joint third, McKulick charged up the outside approaching the far turn. Toskana Belle attempted to run with her in the lane, but McKulick forged clear late to secure the victory. Miss Yearwood rallied for third.
"Irad [Ortiz, Jr.] rode a great race," said winning trainer Chad Brown. "It lined up perfect for him. He was tracking the eventual runner-up [Toskana Belle] the whole way. It was a beautiful trip. I thought maybe he was moving a little early, but he knew what he was doing. He timed it right. I'm so proud of him. He's really come through for us every race and ridden her great."
"I moved a little earlier because she's that kind of filly that needs to start going a little earlier," Ortiz said. "The horse I had to beat [Toskana Belle] was in front of me, so I thought, 'Why not?' I let her go and do her thing a little earlier than usual and she got the job done. She still had something in the tank. After the trip I got, I was confident that I would still have some horse if I decide to do that. After we made the lead, I think she spooked a little bit. She saw something maybe inside the field, because she went out a little bit. I was able to correct her right away. I switched my stick and she responded really well. She was there for me."
Never off the board in her young career, McKulick finished second in both the Gr.2 Edgewood Stakes and Gr.3 Regret
Stakes. She broke through at the Graded level next out with a good-looking score in the Gr.1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes, the first leg of NYRA's Triple Tiara. The bay completed the exacta in the second leg, the Gr.3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes on 7th August.