Dubyuhnell, Julia Shining Prove Best in Aqueduct Preps for Kentucky Derby, Oaks
Updated: Dec 5, 2022
Dubyuhnell entered Saturday's $250,000 off a maiden win in the slop at Aqueduct and thrived under in similar conditions to edge long-time leader Arctic Arrogance in Saturday's $250,000 Remsen (G2) for two-year-olds.
A pace-pressing second for much of the 1 1/8-mile journey under Jose Ortiz, Dubyuhnell outstayed Arctic Arrogance by a half-length. Owned by West Paces Racing and breeder Stonestreet Stables, Dubyuhnell returned $10 after completing the course in 1:50.88.
"He was drawing off. I think we were pretty lucky he does want to get the distance," trainer Danny Gargan said. "We just have to stay sound and stay lucky and keep picking the right races. Maybe we'll be somewhere in May."
There was a gap of more than 11 lengths between Arctic Arrogance and Tuskegee Airmen, who went off favored at approximate odds of 13-10. Quick to Accuse finished fourth and was followed by Midnight Trouble, Il Miracolo, and Prove Right.
Dubyuhnell earned 10 qualifying points toward the 2023 Kentucky Derby (G1). Arctic Arrogance earned four points, Tuskegee Airmen three points, Quick to Accuse two points, and Midnight Trouble one point.
This was the second win in three starts for Dubyuhnell, who finished fourth on debut at Saratoga to Instant Coffee, recent winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. He rebounded with the aforementioned maiden win at Aqueduct by 2 1/2 lengths, his first start sporting blinkers.
"We'll take him down to Florida because of the weather and we won't have to miss as much training," Gargan said. "I'm not ruling out that he couldn't come back for the Withers (G3), we don't know yet. I'd love to win the Wood Memorial (G2), it's one of my favorite races. There's no plans for where he'll go next but we could see him here for the Withers."
Bred in Kentucky, Dubyuhnell is by 2017 juvenile champion Good Magic and out of the multiple Grade 3-winning Wild Gams, a daughter of Forest Wildcat who has also produced this year's Nearctic (G2) winner Cazadero.
Julia Shining remains a work in progress after hopping on the 2023 Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail with a green, come-from-behind victory in Saturday's $250,000 Demoiselle (G2).
A full sister to Malathaat, who parlayed a win in the 2020 Demoiselle to a victory in the 2021 Kentucky Oaks and a division championship, Julia Shining raced very wide and as much as eight lengths off of a slow pace in the 1 1/8-mile fixture. Encouraged hard by jockey Luis Saez throughout the final half-mile, Julia Shining finally made a progress with a wide rally into the stretch and eventually won by a neck as the favorite at approximately 1-2.
"There's a lot of similarities," trainer Todd Pletcher said comparing Julia Shining with Malathaat, who recently retired after winning the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) and a likely second Eclipse Award. "She's still figuring things out. We knew she wouldn't like the kickback, and I don't think she really liked the surface on top of that. It took her a long time to finally get into a rhythm."
A homebred racing for Stonestreet, Julia Shining paid $3.10 after completing one lap of the Big A in 1:53.05. Affirmative Lady finished second by three parts of a length over another Pletcher trainee, Gambling Girl. The order of finish was rounded out by Royal Spa, La Vita Sofia, Foggy Night, and Tribal Queen.
Julia Shining earned 10 qualifying points on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. Affirmative Lady, who remains a maiden after three starts, earned four points. Gambling Girl secured three points, Royal Spa two points, and La Vita Sofia one point.
Julia Shining is now 2-for-2. She demonstrated similar greenness when taking her debut at Keeneland on Oct. 16, falling well the pace but rallying to win going away by 2 3/4 lengths going about seven furlongs. Bred in Kentucky, Julia Shining is by Curlin and out of Grade 1 winner Dreaming of Julia, a daughter of A.P. Indy and the multiple Grade 1-winning sprinter Dream Rush.