Monday, October 22, 2007
Balance – Trainer David Hofmans, looking ahead to his second encounter with the Monmouth Park track, expressed enthusiasm for the training put in by his prospect for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff on Saturday.
Hofmans sent out Stronach Stable’s Touch Gold to capture the 1997 Haskell Invitational.
A 4yo daughter of Thunder Gulch, Balance galloped 1 ½m over the main track Monday morning, duplicating her Sunday trip around the oval as she moves toward her final work on Tuesday. Hofmans, who said the filly is training “awesomely,” is scheduled to work 5f Tuesday or 4f Wednesday, depending on the weather forecast.
Exercise rider Martin De Rubin was in the irons for the gallop and will work the filly.
“She just loves a dirt surface and hates a synthetic surface,” Hofmans said. “She’s doing great here. This is the same sort of track that Santa Anita had before it put in Cushion Track.”
In her final two outings on that Santa Anita surface, the filly won the La Canada Stakes and the Santa Margarita Handicap as a 3yo.
Victor Espinoza, who has ridden Balance in 14 of her 15 lifetime starts, will ride on Saturday.
Bear Now – Trainer Reade Baker put his prize filly on a van Monday morning at Woodbine for the 12-hour ride to Monmouth Park. She completed her work for the Distaff on Sunday in Toronto, breezing 5f in 1:00 2/5.
“Everything’s going perfect,” Baker said Monday. “I know it’s a deep field, but if you go by the sheets numbers, she’s one of the favorites in the race.”
The 3yo daughter of Tiznow, who won the Cotillion at Philadelphia Park last out, has taken stakes on both Polytrack and dirt this season.
Jerry Baird, who has been aboard for Bear Now’s last two victories, gets the call again Saturday.
Ginger Punch – The chestnut filly had a quiet morning walking the shedrow at Belmont Park Monday after turning in her final drill for the Distaff the previous morning at the big New York oval in 48.14.
When she runs in the Distaff she will be partnered again by her regular rider, Rafael Bejarano, confirmed trainer Robert Frankel.
“It is a very competitive race,” the trainer noted, referring to a contest that could see 11 Grade I winners match up at nine furlongs. “Whoever runs their race will be the winner.”
Ginger Punch, a 4yo daughter of Awesome Again, has registered a pair of Grade I tallies this year, along with two other stakes scores in seven 2007 outings.
Frankel, the Hall of Fame conditioner who has four Breeders’ Cup winners on his ledger, revealed that he will not be coming to Saturday’s event at Monmouth Park.
“My dog, Happy, who I’ve had for eight years, is very ill,” he said by phone from California. “I’m not going to leave. I’ll stay here. I’ve got lots of good help at Belmont and elsewhere and I know my horses are in good hands.”-more-
Hystericalady – Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer sent his charge through a 1 1/2m gallop at Bay Meadows in Northern California Monday, then made a call on where the robust daughter of Distorted Humor will next be seen in action.
“She’s going to run in the Distaff,” he said, choosing that Saturday feature at Monmouth Park over a possible date Friday in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
The trainer was asked why he choose an apparently tougher assignment for his chestnut 4yo in a race that could see as many as 11 Grade I winners battle over 9 furlongs.
“Well, whoever wins it, we’ll know she’s an awful good horse, won’t we” Hollendorfer said. “We’ve got a horse that’s peaking in looks and performance. She just has never been better. And, we think we’ve got a lot of ways to go with her. She can run on the lead or she can come from behind. She’s capable of so many things and we think we’ll get a good trip and put in a good showing in the Distaff.”
The trainer noted that Hystericalady would ship to New Jersey on Tuesday, while he would follow her east on Wednesday. He confirmed that Eddie Castro, who rode her to victory in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth on August 25, would be back aboard for the Distaff.
Indian Vale – Jockey John Velazquez has the mount on Indian Vale, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on Sunday on the fast training track at Belmont Park. She jogged a mile on the training track on Monday and will ship to Monmouth Park on Tuesday morning.
“She had a great three-year-old sesason, including winning the Falls City, but got hurt in the Shuvee last year and missed most of the year,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the 5yo A.P. Indy mare. “She’s come back very well and her race in the Beldame was very good.”
Indian Vale was beaten a head by stablemate Unbridled Belle in the Beldame.
Lady Joanne – Alabama Stakes winner Lady Joanne completed her final major preparations for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff by working 5f in 1:01 4/5 at Churchill Downs on Monday morning.
With regular rider Calvin Borel up and working over a fast track, Lady Joanne went out for her work before the renovation break. The move was the 10th-fastest of 35 at the distance.
Trainer Carl Nafzger, who was at Monmouth Park with Breeders’ Cup Classic hopeful Street Sense, reported the Orientate filly “did it very relaxed and galloped out good.”
Borel will have the mount in the Distaff.
Lady Joanne is scheduled to jog Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs and leave later in the day with a Wednesday morning arrival at Monmouth Park.
Lear's Princess – Lear’s Princess galloped 1 1/8 m at Belmont Park with exercise rider Renzo Morales up.
It marked the first day back at the track for Lear’s Princess, after working 4f in 49 on Belmont’s main track Friday morning.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said Lear’s Princess would train the next three mornings at Belmont Park and then ship to Monmouth Park around mid-morning on Thursday.
Eibar Coa, who has ridden Lear’s Princess in her three most recent starts that include a victory over Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches in the Gazelle, has the call in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
My Typhoon – see Mile
Nashoba's Key – see Filly & Mare Turf
Octave – A dual Grade 1 winner, the 3yo Daughter of Unbridled’s Song breezed five furlongs on Sunday in 1:00 2/5 on Belmont Park’s fast training track. She is part of trainer Todd Pletcher’s powerful hand for the Distaff.
“I think we have a strong group,” Pletcher said. “Imagine how strong we would have been if we had (Belmont Stakes winner) Rags to Riches.”
Rags to Riches, only one of three fillies to win the Belmont Stakes and the first to do it in 102 years, suffered a hairline fracture of her right front pastern coming out of the Gazelle Handicap at Belmont Park on September 15. Now at Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., she is expected to return to racing next year.
In addition to winning the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont this year, Octave was second to Rags to Riches in the Kentucky Oaks. She comes to the Distaff off a second-place finish to Bear Now in the Cotillion at Philadelphia Park on September 22.
“Her race at Philly was a much better race than it looks on paper,” said Pletcher of the two-length loss. “The track was favoring speed, and we let the other horse get away from us.”
Pletcher will ship Octave to Monmouth Park on Tuesday morning. Garrett Gomez will ride her in the Distaff.
*** Raid - Trainer Todd Pletcher remained undecided on whether she will run in the Distaff or the Filly & Mare Turf. She breezed a half-mile on Belmont Park’s fast training track on Sunday morning, and jogged a mile Monday.
She is expected to leave for Monmouth Park on Tuesday morning.
Prop Me Up – The 5yo chestnut mare, who is first on the Preference list “walked the shedrow, grazed and ate grass and dead leaves” Monday, a day after working 4f at Monmouth in 49 4/5. Rise (pronounced Ree cee) Cheser, assistant to trainer Greg Sacco, said. The move was the 21st-fastest among 42 at the host Breeders’ Cup track.
Cheser, who also is a working artist, pointed to Prop Me Up’s beautiful conformation and her amiability as she fed her carrots. But she also praised the mare’s competitive spirit. “She always tries. Even when she’s overmatched, you can count on her to be right there.”
Later, Sacco checked in from his dentist’s office, and said the mare, whom he has trained for only the two most recent of her 29 career starts, would be back on the track to jog Tuesday.
“She’ll gallop Wednesday and Thursday and jog on Friday,” Sacco said.
Joe Bravo has the Distaff mount.
Teammate – The 4yo filly breezed 5f in 59 at Belmont Park Monday morning in preparation for a start in the Distaff. Exercise rider Princeton Ellis was aboard for the workout.
“She went pretty good,” said trainer Allen Jerkens, who reported that his filly will be shipped by van to Monmouth Park on Wednesday.
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Teammate, who finished third behind *** Raid and Lady Joanne in the Spinster at Keeneland last time out.
Tough Tiz's Sis – The 3yo filly was flown from California Monday after working 5f in 59 2/5 Sunday at Santa Anita. The daughter of two-time Classic winner Tiznow will be ridden for the first time by Mike Smith, a three-time winner of the Distaff.
Smith won aboard Inside Information in 1995, Ajina in 1997 and Azeri in 2002.
Trainer Bob Baffert obtained the Hall of Famer’s services because Victor Espinoza, who rode the filly to victory in the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 7, took a call on Balance in the Distaff. Co-owners Karl Watson and Paul Weitman of Tucson made a late decision to supplement the filly to the Distaff for $180,000. Unbridled Belle – Winner of the Delaware Handicap and Belmont Park’s Beldame, the 4yo Broken Vow filly jogged a mile Monday at Belmont Park. She worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 breezing Sunday on the training track, and will ship to Monmouth on Tuesday morning.
Jockey Ramon Dominguez has the call in the Distaff.