(A.P. Indy x Dream Rush, by Wild Rush)
- Trainer: Todd Pletcher (Rags to Riches, Uncle Mo, Ashado)
- Jockey: John Velazquez (2nd last year on Broadway’s Alibi)
- Owned by: Stonestreet Stables
- Record: 6:4-1-1
- Earnings: $767,000
- Best speed figures: 114 Beyer, 116 Equibase
Background: A classy juvenile filly turned possible-Oaks favorite, Dreaming of Julia is the latest horse named after a real-life person to hope to do well on racing’s biggest stage. Royally-bred with a top rider and a trainer who has already won this gig twice, Julia is apt to be play a big role as she attempts to snatch the Lilies hot off a Gulfstream Oaks (II) performance that outshown the Florida Derby (I) on the same day.
Prep Schedule: A winner from 6 1/2 furlongs to 9, Julia was one of the best fillies in the country last year as a two-year-old after winning a gritty duel against My Happy Face in the Frizette (I), but lost her 3-race undefeated winning streak when a bouncy third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly (I). She was second-best 3 months later in her sophomore debut in the Davona Dale (II) at 1 1/16 miles, running behind winner Live Lively all the way around the speed-favoring Gulfstream main. However, she got her revenge next out 5 weeks later when she took over on the turn to win by more than 21 lengths in the 9-furlong Gulfstream Oaks (II), running faster than Orb did later in the day.
Pedigree: Julia’s heritage reads classic victory like a Hollywood script with big distance ability on top and speed on the bottom. Sire A.P. Indy nabbed the Belmont-Breeders’ Cup Classic double and is the sire of two Pletcher star fillies: Rags to Riches and Love and Pride. Dam Dream Rush is a multiple-G1 winning sprinter with victories in the Prioress (I) and the Test (I) to her credit. Dream Rush also is a product of the Unbridled damsire success story.
Estimated TrueNicks Rating: A++ Variant 11.02
Running Style: Near the pace
Pros: Julia personifies what I want to see in an Oaks filly: stubborn determination, speed, and documented talent at 9 furlongs. Unlike others, she is not overly keen to get away early and is responsive to changes in the race. Her two losses are excusable: one off a layoff, the other after an arduous campaign and ship-out.
Cons: Is Julia at risk of bouncing after that huge Gulfstream Oaks win? That is the biggest question to ask here; even with the Toddster’s good past history with this race, this is probably the toughest Oaks field I’ve ever seen.
Final Word: Dreaming of Julia is no stranger to running tough races and winning them, but she will have to be at her best to nail this one down. Thankfully by the looks of this race, Beholder and others will be keen to give the race a lot of speed, which only helps a filly like her who likes to sit off the front end and has the stamina to make a strong move at the end. I will be surprised if she is worse than third.