Vertical Oak Makes the Grade in Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3)

BALTIMORE – J Kirk & Judi Robison’s Vertical Oak, testing stakes company for the first time, took the lead with a furlong to run and sprinted clear to a 3 ¾-length triumph in the $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness (G3) at historic Pimlico Race Course Friday.
The 32nd running of the six-furlong Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies was the second consecutive victory Vertical Oak ($15.60) following the Goldfinch Stakes April 29 at Prairie Meadows April 29 in her previous start.
Ridden by Jose Ortiz for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, who also teamed up to open Friday’s stakes program winning the $150,000 Allaire DuPont Distaff (G3) with Terra Promessa – Vertical Oak ran six furlongs in 1:10.06 over a fast main track.
My Miss Chiff was fastest from the gate and was in front after running a quarter-mile in 22.61 seconds before beginning to feel the heat from Vertical Oak after a half in 45.54. Ortiz and Vertical Oak assumed the lead at the top of the stretch and couldn’t be caught down the lane to spring the mild upset.
Our Majesty passed My Miss Chiff late to get second, with Too Much Tip closing for fourth.
Asmussen also won the Miss Preakness in 2009 with Heart Ashley.
Norman Casse, assistant to trainer Mark Casse reported that Pretty City Dancer stepped on herself in the paddock and ripped off a shoe. She became antsy as they attempted to put a new one on, and the decision was made to scratch.
“She tried to flip the first time we put a nail in, and that was it,” he said. “It wasn’t worth it. She wasn’t having anything to do with it, just too worked up. At that point, she’s going to be compromised in the race, so why would you do it? You’re just running out there for no reason. Some horses can have a shoe put on in the stall, some can’t. She just couldn’t do it, it was overwhelming.”
Winning Trainer Steve Asmussen (Vertical Oak): “She’s a nice filly. She got away from the gate cleanly. That’s been key for her. Jose did a great job getting her away from the gate. I thought she ran very powerfully from there. I felt she was fast enough for this group off her last race. She had a rough trip the time before, so I was concerned about her confidence. This did exactly what I hoped it would”
Winning Jockey Jose Ortiz (Vertical Oak): “She broke well. I had to put her there because of the size of the field. I was in great position going into the turn. I was third in the clear. I waited and waited, then she jumped into the bit, so I knew I had a horse when I asked her.”
Trainer Ron Moquett (Our Majesty, 2nd): “She ran well. She got shuffled back a little bit there and kind of lost sight of what she was doing and took herself out of it. Whenever she got out, she goes to running again. First time out traveling so far, first time doing everything. I’m proud of her, and she got beat by a good filly. I’m pleased. She’s graded-stakes placed and we’ll get us a win — it’s coming.”
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.  (Our Majesty, 2nd): “It was a new track for her so she started looking around. Turning for home, when she figured she had to run, she came back running. She got a little confused today. We’ve got a lot of filly for the future.” 
Trainer Al Stall Jr. (My Miss Chiff, 3rd): “You always like to win. She did well for herself. She left on her toes and carried herself as far as she could go. All and all we are happy.”
Jockey Joel Rosario (My Miss Chiff, 3rd): “It was a good race. She got up there and was happy where she was and then it looked like we get second but we got third.”