Ladies Man: Brad Cox’s Road to the Lilies

April 30, 2020

Photo Credit: Coady Photography

Brad Cox can become the first trainer to sweep Oaklawn’s three Kentucky Oaks points races with different horses if Eclipse Award winner British Idiom captures Friday’s $400,000 Fantasy Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Cox won the $150,000 Martha Washington Stakes Feb. 1 with Taraz and the $300,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) March 7 with Shedaresthedevil, co-owned by Staton Flurry of Hot Springs. The Martha Washington, which became a two-turn race in 2004, has been won by, among others, future Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra (2009), champion Take Charge Brandi (2015) and future multiple graded stakes winner Red Ruby (2018). Rachel Alexandra returned to win the Fantasy.

British Idiom capped a 3 for 3 championship campaign last year with a victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. Stablemate Shedaresthedevil punched her ticket to the Fantasy with a victory in the Honeybee.

“It says a lot about the depth we have with the 3-year-old fillies,” said Cox, who won the 2018 Fantasy with Sassy Sienna. “However we do it, whichever one wins, hopefully, we can get it done.”

British Idiom will be making her local debut after suffering her first career loss in the $300,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes (G2) Feb. 15 at Fair Grounds. She had been scheduled to make her next start in the $500,000 Ashland Stakes (G1) April 4 at Keeneland before the Lexington, Ky., track canceled its spring meeting (Covid-19). After Churchill Downs responded to the Covid-19 crisis by moving the Kentucky Oaks from May 1 to Sept. 4, Oaklawn shifted the Fantasy from April 10 to Friday.

“Their training, it’s trying to keep them on a schedule,” Cox said. “They’re both doing extremely well. I expect them to run their ‘A’ race, I know that.”

Shedaresthedevil will be making her third start for Cox after being purchased for $280,000 at Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale. In her Feb. 15 local debut, Shedaresthedevil finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, by stablemate Bonny South in an entry-level allowance race at 1 1/16 miles. Bonny South won the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) March 21 at Fair Grounds in her next start. Shedaresthedevil returned to capture the Honeybee, the traditional final major local prep for the Fantasy, in her next start.

“She’s a phenomenal work horse,” Cox said. “She gave us the confidence to go from running second in a one-other-than, having the condition, and skipping the one-other-than that was offered in the book there right before the Honeybee. She gives you a lot of confidence as a trainer.”

Bonny South has 100 points to rank second on the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard. British Idiom and Shedaresthedevil each have 50 points to rank seventh and eighth, respectively (non-restricted stakes earnings break ties). The 1 1/8-mile race is limited to 14 starters, with starting preference given to horses with the highest point totals earned in designated races like the Martha Washington, Honeybee and Fantasy. The Fantasy offers 170 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points to its top four finishers (100-40-20-10).

Bonny South returned to the work tab last Saturday at Keeneland, covering 3 furlongs in :36.40. Cox said he decided to back off Bonny South following the Fair Grounds Oaks because she already has 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points and a secure spot in the starting gate.

“Where we land, we don’t know yet,” Cox said of Bonny South’s next start. “Hopefully, we’ll be up and racing and they’ll be some options for us soon.”

Oaklawn Park Press Release

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