“Crazy Beautiful wins the Summertime Oaks easily” was the shout from the caller’s box at Santa Anita on Sunday, May 30, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment.
Phoenix Thoroughbreds‘ star filly bounced back from a luckless effort in the Kentucky Oaks to put to bed a small but quality field in the Californian showpiece. Adding to her impressive record, which includes a stunning success in the Gulfstream Park Oaks earlier this year, Kenny McPeek’s bold decision to head west with the daughter of Liam’s Map was fully justified as she cruised to Grade Two glory.
Hall Of Famer Mike Smith didn’t even need to resort to engaging his whip as the galloping grey made full use of her big stride to power home in the closing stages to win with plenty in hand and maybe earn herself a place back at racing’s top table.
Breaking well from the gate, Smith was content to allow the three-year-old to sit one off the rail in a share of second in the opening moments of the $200,000 contest. Crazy Beautiful and Smith just eased off the pace as the leaders set about a personal dual down the backstretch. Entering the top of the turn, the veteran rider started to make his move and it became evident just how well the filly was going. Swinging into the stretch, the winner loomed large on the outside before showing her rivals a clean pair of hooves.
“She broke really well and I noticed in the Kentucky Oaks she got slammed really bad and never had a chance to run,” said Smith. “I knew with a better break and the way she’s bred, we had the speed if we needed it. For a minute, I thought about going to the lead, but the other two were entertaining themselves enough where I felt comfortable to sit back. With a short field, I was hoping to drop back and get out when it was time.
“She had great energy in her work yesterday so I said to Kenny, don’t be surprised if we raced closer to the pace and it worked out great.”