Awesome Belle – With the final preparations for Awesome Belle’s start in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies complete, trainer Stanley Gold focused his concerns skyward Thursday morning.
“I’m a little worried about that over there,” Gold said while pointing toward the darkening skies to the west in advance of Thursday’s rain. “My horses have been getting over the track well when it’s been dry; I’m confident about that. But a wet track presents an unknown.
“I’m not familiar with this track when it’s wet, but I do know that this ‘slop’ isn’t Calder ‘slop,’ so I’m a little worried. Then again, maybe it will turn out to be an advantage.
“I think we’ll be good for Saturday (when Fort Loudon starts in the Juvenile), but I’m a little worried about Friday’s race.”
Candrea – The 2yo daughter of Trippi is “waking up,” according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who sent the filly out for a 1m gallop Thursday morning under exercise rider Dana Barnes.
“She looks good and I gave her a little work the other day,” Baffert said, recalling an Oct. 31 4f move in 48 3/5. “At the end of the day, the cream rises to the top. And these good fillies do pretty well here.”
Frolic's Revenge – “I’ve had so many ‘Frolics’ in my barn, I can’t even remember all of their names,” trainer Milton Wolfson said.
Juvenile Fillies contender Frolic’s Revenge is the fourth generation of some very talented Graded stakes winners. Her dam is Stormy Frolic, who is the daughter of Lindsay Frolic, who is out Cherokee Frolic.
Bill Cole trained foundation broodmare Cherokee Frolic, who was claimed for $20,000 and went on to win the Railbird at Hollywood and the Test at Saratoga, but Wolfson has trained the other two and their offspring for Stride Rite Racing Stable for more years than he cares to count.
“I’ve had 15 stakes winners out of this family,” said Wolfson, who earned a B.A. in animal science at the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in education from Temple University and has been training since 1964.
“My first horse out of Cherokee Frolic was Fabulous Frolic, and Super Frolic won $1.5 million. But my favorite is still Lindsay Frolic (winner of the Sabin, Powder Break and Judy’s Red Shoes) because of her ability to do anything ever asked of her. Stormy Frolic was her first stakes winner. This is just a great line. The horses probably would have won some Grade ones, but we race at Calder and they don’t have that many of them.”
Frolic’s Revenge was an easy winner of the Lindsay Frolic Stakes at Calder on Aug. 27, which was a fitting tribute to her granddam for whom the race is named.
“That was something really special. When this filly won that race, it was a whole lot of fun,” said Wolfson. “It’s been a great run training these horses for the owner for all of these years.”
It seems that the run is far from over.
“I’ve got six Frolics in my barn right now,” he said.
On Thursday, exercise rider Karyn Whitten took Frolic’s Revenge out for a jog once around with a pony.
“She was on the muscle,” Wolfson said. “She’s ready. I’ve done all of the damage I can do. The rest is up to her.”
Grace Hall – The undefeated daughter of Empire Maker went out at 8:45 on Thursday morning with exercise rider Carol Fisher aboard for an easy gallop and trainer Tony Dutrow said that after her afternoon visit to the paddock, she wouldn’t need any more preparation.
While many of the other fillies in the race will have to go further than asked before while also trying two turns for the first time, Grace Hall isn’t a novice.
“She’s got that experience (by winning the one mile and 70-yards Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware last out) and her pedigree certainly suggests she can handle it,” Dutrow said.
Grace Hall, purchased for $95,000 out of the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale was sent to Dutrow at the beginning of May with the caveat that she was “nothing special.”
“We started working with her and by July, we had the feeling that this one can really be good,” he said. “Then after she won her maiden race (by three lengths), I immediately sent her to Saratoga to prep for the Spinaway.”
Despite getting caught wide twice in the race, she rallied from off the pace to win by 1 3/4 lengths and beat the highly regarded Judy the Beauty.
“That filly of Wes Ward’s that she beat in the Spinaway is a very good filly,” Dutrow said. “Going from a maiden special to winning a Grade 1 was such a big step up for her.
“But this is a big race, and there will be a lot of commotion, cameras, and the lights (on the track). We’ve got a lot to prove, so we’ll see.”
Homecoming Queen – The daughter of Holy Roman Empire returned to the main track Thursday and cantered with her two stablemates, Up and Misty For Me.
“She has had a hard campaign but her last four efforts have been very progressive,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “She is tactically quick enough on the grass and she gets a mile well and she is tough at the end, but it is a finding out mission for us on the dirt.”
Miss Netta – The daughter of Street Sense galloped 1 1/4m under exercise rider Rob Massey after schooling in the starting gate Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained filly broke to the inside in the Frizette last time out and dropped back to sixth before closing to finish third. In her previous start, she debuted with a front-running score
“She can get a little goosey in there (starting gate) but she went right in, so everything’s gone well,” said McLaughlin.
My Miss Aurelia – The 5-2 morning line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables’ 2yo daughter of Smart Strike has won all three of her career starts, but Friday’s race will be her first at Churchill, and her first around two turns.
“She’s done a lot of things right,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “One turn versus two turns is another question she must answer. I do feel very comfortable that she’ll handle it. She spent a lot of time at Churchill in the spring, and trained quite forwardly here.
“She came out of the Frizette, came back here (Churchill), went back to the track and didn’t miss a beat. Her confidence level is good.”
Northern Passion – The Natalma Stakes winner has raced on the Polytrack and turf, has never been the 1 1/16 m distance of the Juvenile Fillies, has not negotiated two turns, nor has ever competed away from her home base at Woodbine.
That’s the answer out of the Mark Casse barn this week, as the filly advances to her spot in the starting gate on Friday. Casse is extremely pleased with the way the filly has trained, and his son Norman, who is his top assistant, is confident in her abilities.
“We like her going two turns,” the younger Casse said after the filly galloped 1 1/2 m on Thursday morning. “In the Natalma, she looked like she was looking for more ground. The key to winning two-turn races is to rate and be kind. And that’s what she does.”
Northern Passion and her stablemate Prospective, who will start in the Juvenile, are owned by John Oxley. She was purchased this past March for $220,000 at the OBS Sale of 2-year-olds in training and Prospective was a $250,000 yearling purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August yearling sale.
Questing - Trainer John Gosden said that Princess Haya of Jordan’s Hard Spun filly will stay in the U.S. after the Breeders’ Cup and move into the care of trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
“When we ran her the last time, I talked with John Ferguson and Sheik Mohammed, who was there,” Gosden said. “We said, ‘Look, she’s a filly who should go to America.’ She’s got small feet and she’s got Group form in Europe, so let’s run her in the Juvenile Fillies.”
Self Preservation – Trainer Ben Cecil said of his 2yo filly, “We expect a much better run out of her this time. We’ll take her back this time and let her make one big run.
“She was not intended to go to the front last time (Oak Leaf at Santa Anita), so we’re hopeful that this time will be better. I’m very happy with her, with the way she’s training.”
The daughter of Lion Heart, who is winless in two stakes starts since coming to the United States from Ireland earlier in the year, galloped 1 1/2m Thursday.
Weemissfrankie – “Everything is as usual,” said trainer Peter Eurton following his filly’s Thursday morning exercise where she galloped 1 1/8m wither regular exercise rider Paul Toscano aboard.
“She’s set to go,” Eurton said. “We don’t usually do anything too heavy when we’re ready to run.”