Florida’s reigning Breeder of the Year, Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge LLC’s Fiona’s Magic tuned up for a start in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1) with a six-furlong breeze in 1:15.16 at Gulfstream Park Tuesday morning.

“We’ve just been doing some strong, long gallops with her. We breezed three-quarters. I told [exercise rider Jose Ortiz] to just go easy and finish up a little bit down the lane,” trainer Michael Yates said, “I feel like we’re going in the right direction. She was very relaxed and did it well within herself.”

Fiona’s Magic, who qualified for the Kentucky Oaks with a second-place finish in the Forward Gal (G3) and a victory in the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream, finished off the board in the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

“We learned absolutely nothing from that race,” Yates said. “We breezed her eight days before the race and scoped her. She scoped clean. Everything looked to be on ‘go.’ She had no nasal discharge. Everything was normal, but after the race, we scoped her, and she was loaded with mucus.”

Yates saddled Florida-bred Champion Dorth Vader for a fifth-place finish in last year’s Kentucky Oaks.

“Hindsight is always 20-20. What I learned last year is there’s no way that’s the right way. You just have to take care of your horse the best you can,” he said.

Yates opted to prepare Fiona’s Magic at Gulfstream for her serious Kentucky Oaks preparation before shipping the daughter of St. Patrick’s Day to Churchill Downs Friday morning.

“I just think you need to keep your horse in whatever atmosphere is best for them to keep them training well and moving forward,” Yates aid. “That’s what we chose to do.”

A rider has yet to be engaged to ride Fiona’s Magic in the Oaks.

Return to the April 24 issue of Wire to Wire