Multiple G2 Winner Kathleen O. Returns To The Winner’s Circle In The Serna’s Song Stakes At Monmouth

Kathleen O. got back to the winner’s circle for the first time in over two years when winning Monmouth’s Serena’s Song S. over a wet track on Sunday.

With a solid start to her racing career as a late juvenile, the Shug McGaughey trainee rattled off three straight wins at three, including the GII Davona Dale S. and GII Gulfstream Park Oaks. The dark bay, a respectable fifth to 1-2 finishers Secret Oath and Nest in the Kentucky Oaks, she did not return to action until November when she was runner-up in the GIII Comely S. at the Big A.

Runner up in last year’s GIII Royal Delta S. and Top Flight Invitational S., she was last seen running a well-beaten sixth against optional claimers at Gulfstream Park in Mar. 17. Given a break for nearly two months, she shipped to Oceanport where she was tabbed as a 9-1 shot here.

Kathleen O. brought up the rear heading into the first turn, but she looked to be engaged up the backstretch. With still a good bit to do around the far turn, the 5-year-old tipped to the extreme outside by the top of the lane and was set down for the final drive. At the eighth pole, Occult cut off the rail-skimming Venti Valentine, but was unable to stop the momentum of Kathleen O., who secured the win in the final jumps. After a claim of foul, the stewards placed Venti Valentine second and moved Occult to third.

“I think the two turns helped, said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “I took her to Kentucky to get her out of Florida and let her eat grass and get some cool weather instead of the hot Florida weather and I think she did good there. She had a really good work at Keeneland on the Saturday before she shipped up [to Monmouth]. She shipped good.

He continued, “She’s always in the back when she races. She breaks okay but she doesn’t break running. I’d like to see her get to where she breaks running and goes from there. We may try to stretch her out even more and see where it takes us. Yes, the [GIII] Molly Pitcher [July 20] is a possibility.”

The winner’s dam is responsible for 2-year-old filly Jacquelyn Eau (Tapwrit) and a yearling filly by Upstart. Kathleen O.’s extended female family includes GISW and sire Cupid (Tapit), plus ‘TDN Rising Star’ V V’s Dream (Mitole).

SERENA’S SONG S., $98,000, Monmouth, 5-12, 3yo/up, f/m, 1m 70y, 1:44.50, sy.
1–KATHLEEN O., 118, m, 5, Upstart–Quaver (SP), by Blame. ($8,000 Wlg ’19 KEENOV; $50,000 Ylg ’20 OBSOCT; $275,000 2yo ’21 OBSAPR). O-Winngate Stables, LLC; B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds LTD & Bridlewood Farm, LLC (KY); T-Claude R. McGaughey III; J-Vincent Cheminaud. $60,000. Lifetime Record: MGSW, 12-5-3-0, $570,635.
2–Venti Valentine, 118, m, 5, Firing Line–Glory Gold, by Medaglia d’Oro. O-NY Final Furlong Racing Stable and Parkland Thoroughbreds; B-Final Furlong Racing Stable & Maspeth Stable (NY); T-Jorge R. Abreu. $20,000.
3–Occult, 118, f, 4, Into Mischief–Magical Feeling, by Empire Maker. ($625,000 Ylg ’21 KEESEP). O-Alpha Delta Stables, LLC; B-Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, LLC (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $10,000.
Margins: 3/4, 1, 3/4. Odds: 9.00, 6.00, 0.20.
Also Ran: Frosty O Toole, Traverse. Scratched: Beach Daze, Cheetara (Chi), Sunset Louise.
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