· Zubi Zubi Zu Points to Blushing K D
· Ibaka Sharp in Work, Allowance-bound
· Regally Ready Highlights Work Tab
ZUBI ZUBI ZU POINTS TO BLUSHING K D
Christine and Phil Hatfield’s Zubi Zubi Zu has taken her time coming back to form, but said time came full circle on Nov. 21 when the Mike Stidham-trained daughter of Any Given Saturday nipped heavily favored course specialist Eden Prairie on the wire by a neck in a conditioned allowance over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
“She’s doing well,” Stidham said. “She’s come a long way for us. We’re looking at the Blushing K D for her. She always tries and her last race was excellent.”
A five-time winner from 17 starts, the bay filly was always well regarded by her connections. As a sophomore, she ran a quartet of exceptional efforts at Arlington, including a heartbreaking neck loss in the $75,000 Hatoof Stakes in August of last season. Afterward, she tailed off and failed to hit the board in five consecutive starts.
Patiently brought back through her conditions and given confidence in increments by a steady Stidham, the maternal granddaughter of Sky Classic has now won three of her last five at three different courses: Canterbury Park, Laurel Park and Fair Grounds.
The $60,000 Blushing K D, named after the ill-fated Fair Grounds-based winner of the 1997 Kentucky Oaks, takes place on Dec. 19 as part of a five-stakes Santa Super Saturday card at Fair Grounds. The race will be contested on the turf at 1 1/16 miles – a distance Zubi Zubi Zu has tried twice, including when earning a career-high 102 Equibase Speed Figure two back in a second-level Laurel allowance and the aforementioned Hatoof.
IBAKA SHARP IN WORK, ALLOWANCE-BOUND
Doug Wall’s talented 4-year-old homebred gelding Ibaka hails from humble beginnings, but such has not stopped the dark bay Bret Calhoun trainee from winning seven of 15, including four restricted stakes races. Bred in Oklahoma, the son of Uncle Abbie out of the With Approval mare Synersis exits one of those tallies, a decisive two-length gate-to-wire victory in the $130,000 Oklahoma Turf Classic at Remington Park in his turf debut.
On Saturday morning, the Fair Grounds-based charge worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.60, which was the best of 45 moves at the distance. Assistant trainer Tom Morgan was on hand trackside for the work.
“He worked great and it was as good as looks on paper,” Morgan said. “We were going to enter him this past week in an allowance race (at Fair Grounds) and he came up with a little bit of a foot abscess, so we backed off on him. We missed the work and the race. Right now we are just biding our time looking for an allowance race. It’ll be interesting to see what he can do in open company.”
In his 15 starts, Ibaka has made only two starts outside of Oklahoma or Texas – a an allowance victory at fourth asking in Jan. 2014 at Delta Downs and a sixth on Mar. 14 of this year in the $75,000 Borgata Stakes at that same course.
REGALLY READY HIGHLIGHTS WORK TAB
Vinery Stable’s $1.7 million-earning 8-year-old gelding Regally Ready returned to the work tab for the first time since dismantling a conditioned allowance field at Churchill Downs on Nov. 15, working an easy half-mile in 51.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Three-time stakes winner Stormdriver worked six furlongs in 1:14.40 for trainer Pat Devereux, Jr., and owner Fruition Racing. The Louisiana-bred is possible for Champions Day, Dec. 12, at Fair Grounds. Last year, the seven-time winner was third to String King in the Turf.
Stakes-winning Exodus, whose half-sister and stablemate Thirteen Arrows just annexed the $100,000 Zia Park Distaff, continues to work well over the local surface upon which he graduated earlier this year. The son of multiple Grade I winners Medaglia d’Oro and Stop Traffic worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Larry Jones and owner Fox Hill Farm.
Swift Pat Devereux, Jr., trainee Reflector, a winner three back of the $60,000 Need for Speed Stakes at Evangeline Downs, worked a half-mile in 48.40 for owner Preston Stables.
Sapphire Seas served notice that her bullet three-furlong work last week was no fluke when working another one, this time at a half-mile out of the gate for owner-trainer Larry Jones in 47.20. The move was a full second and a fifth faster than the remaining 44 works at four furlongs.