Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 24-25
$2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (Grade I)
Fillies & Mares, Three-Year-Olds & Up
1 1/8 Miles
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Bear Now (Tr: Reade Baker; ex. rider: Cassie Garcea ) – Bear Now has been stabled at Santa Anita for three weeks because trainer Reade Baker, who is based at Woodbine in Ontario, Canada, wanted to make sure that she and stablemate Fatal Bullet (Sprint) had plenty of time to acclimate.
“She’s doing very well and seems to like the Pro-Ride surface,” he said. “Her second work back was brilliant.”
The 4yo daughter of Tiznow, owned by Donnie Dion’s Bear Stables and referred to as the “Stable Princess,” worked 5f handily in 58 4/5 on Oct. 12 at Santa Anita under exercise rider Cassie Garcea. It was the second-fastest workout of the 54 horses at the distance that morning. She followed up with another 5f work in 1:03 last Saturday.
When asked about the very stiff competition in the Ladies Classic, Baker smiled and said, “They’re all tough.”
Carriage Trail (Tr: Shug McGaughey; ex. rider Jennifer Patterson) – Carriage Trail galloped 1m under exercise rider Jennifer Patterson Wednesday morning before walking through the paddock on her way back to Barn 48 on the Santa Anita backstretch.
The 5yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway demonstrated immense potential from her very first race, an impressive victory at Saratoga in 2005, but only really came into her own this season.
“She had little things that were nagging her. Nothing major, but I couldn’t keep going with her,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “This year we’ve been able to keep going with her and she’s had a good year.”
Carriage Trail, who is a stakes-winner over turf and synthetic tracks, registered the most important victory of her career in her most recent start, winning the Spinster over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface.
“She’s been better on synthetic than dirt, but whether she’s better on the synthetic or the turf, I don’t know,” McGaughey said.
Carriage Trail will be ridden by Kent Desormeaux.
Cocoa Beach/Music Note (Tr: Saeed bin Suroor) – Both Cocoa Beach and Music Note cantered 1 3/4m at Santa Anita on Wednesday.
“They looked especially good today – both of them,” said Rick Mettee, U.S. assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
The 4yo Cocoa Beach enters the Ladies’ Classic undefeated in two starts in the U.S. after having raced in her native Chile and then Dubai, and is 8-for-10 lifetime.
“The biggest concern with Cocoa Beach,” Mettee said, “is that she’ll settle behind the speed. Music Note is very tractable. We’ll see how she stacks up against these older fillies.”
Ginger Punch (Tr: Robert Frankel) – Ginger Punch was on the Santa Anita main track Wednesday morning just after 8 a.m. for a 1 1/4m gallop, as trainer Robert Frankel looked on from the Clocker’s Corner area near the head of the stretch.
“I like her chances Friday (in the Ladies’ Classic where she’s the defending champion) and I like her post (six in the eight-horse field),” the Hall of Fame conditioner said.
“There won’t be any excuses there. I just don’t want her on the lead. I guess I’m going to have to talk to the kid (Rafael Bejarano) about that. You think he’d know that by now; he’s ridden her 16 times. But last race (Beldame at Belmont Park Sept. 8) he was sending her to the front and she got beat. Sometimes they (riders) need reminding. If she can stalk – if she has something to run at and can accelerate late – she runs her best race.”
Frankel was asked if the Ladies’ Classic could be the swan song for the 5yo daughter of Awesome Again, who has won a dozen races, more than $3 million, and an Eclipse Award for her owner-breeder, Frank Stronach.
“It might be,” he said, “but then again I might run her in that Sunshine Millions race in January.”
Ginger Punch won the Sunshine Millions Distaff at Gulfstream Park to start off her 2008 campaign. In 2009, the race will be run at Santa Anita.
Hystericalady (Tr: Jerry Hollendorfer) – Multiple graded-stakes winner Hystericalady galloped 1 1/2m and visited the gate. Denny Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, pronounced her morning routine as perfect.
“Just like always,” he said. “This horse is a very good shipper and she loves to ship. She travels back and forth across the country to run at all different tracks and handles it very well.”
Hystericalady, winner of 12 of 21 career starts and based in Northern California, has made seven starts this season, competing at Monmouth Park, Delaware Park, Churchill Downs, Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita. She has been out of the money just once this year.
“She doesn’t like the synthetics as much as she likes dirt,” Ward said. “But this surface is supposed to be 87 percent dirt, so it’s kind of like a dirt track. No matter where she is, she always runs well.”
Santa Teresita (Tr: Eric Guillot) – Santa Teresita has a spot in the Ladies’ Classic starting gate, but trainer Eric Guillot believes the 4yo filly may be running for second money on Friday.
“If she (Zenyatta) gets a trip, there’s nothing in there that’s going to beat her,” Guillot said. “I think she could beat Curlin (likely Classic favorite). She has nothing to prove, or to gain, by running on Friday. She could have been mentioned in the same breath as Lady’s Secret, Rags to Riches and Winning Colors.”
Santa Teresita finished third behind Zenyatta in the Lady’s Secret four weeks ago, and Guillot believes that she should move forward on Friday.
“She needed that race,” Guillot said. “She’ll run a big one, but she’s up against the best in the world (Zenyatta). We’re glad to have drawn post seven in an eight-horse field. When she (Santa Teresita) is stuck inside, she tends to fight early.”
Zenyatta (Tr: John Shirreffs; ex. rider: Steve Willard) – “Is perfect good enough for you?” exercise rider Steve Willard said with a grin when asked how Zenyatta felt after the unbeaten 4yo filly jogged and galloped 1 1/2m on the Hollywood Park Cushion Track Wednesday.
Trainer John Shirreffs shipped the filly to Santa Anita later in the morning and planned to school her in the paddock during one of the afternoon races.
Shirreffs said he did not think the inside post would be a problem for the prohibitive morning line favorite, seeking her ninth straight victory.
“More than the post position, having a little luck in the running of the race is more important,” Shirreffs said.
Willard, a 65-year-old veteran, places Zenyatta in elite company.
“I put her in the same category as when I got on Alysheba and Gentlemen,” Willard said. “She’s been special, extremely special and getting more special every day.”
Willard has been her regular exercise rider for a year-and-a-half.
“She had a half dozen different riders, and I got her by default because she bucked the others off,” Willard said. “She’s getting more settled, but can still be a little cantankerous. She bucked me off in the shedrow once and came close to bucking me off another time. She wants to do what she wants to do.
“It’s not often that a good filly likes human beings, but she does,” Willard added. “She likes to come over to people and she loves Mario Espinoza, the groom.”