Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Daily Cup Update: Filly & Mare Sprint, Wednesday, Nov. 3
Champagne d'Oro – The bay 3yo filly stretched her legs in a 1 1/2 m gallop Wednesday morning at about 7:30 under exercise rider Pablo Tutlan as she moves closer to her Friday start in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.
The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, already a double Grade I winner, drew post 14 in the 14-horse field for the 7f test that will be the seventh of 10 races on the first of two Breeders’ Cup cards. Her trainer, Eric Guillot, was asked about the outside draw.
“It was absolutely perfect,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for more. She’s got speed, but she’s not the best coming out of the gate. This will take human error out of the equation. I think we’ll be able to control the race from out there.
“During the draw we were getting down to the end and I thought I was going to get stuck inside. I didn’t realize the 14 was still there. Then I drew it and I was really pleased.”
Miguel Mena, who has been aboard the Kentucky-bred in her last three starts, has the call on Friday.
Dubai Majesty – The Bret Calhoun trainee galloped 1 1/2 m at Churchill on Wednesday morning leading up to a start in Friday’s Filly & Mare Sprint.
“She went very well and everything’s good,” Calhoun said of the 5yo Essence of Dubai runner.
Dubai Majesty won the May 31 Winning Colors Stakes at Churchill and hasn’t been off the board since. In her last outing, she took the Oct. 9 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland. She has been based at Churchill all summer long.
While the Filly & Mare Sprint is a dirt race, Calhoun worked his starter on the turf on Oct. 26, her final move in preparation for the 7f event.
Evening Jewel – The daughter of Northern Afleet, who hasn’t run a sprint since December of 2009, galloped 1 1/2 m on the main track Wednesday on her way to the Filly & Mare Sprint Friday.
The turn-back in distance for the 3yo filly, who missed by the narrowest of noses in this year’s Kentucky Oaks, was “strictly a trainer’s decision,” according to Jim Cassidy.
Evening Jewel races for the Braly Family Trust. Tom Braly lost a long battle with cancer the week after Evening Jewel won the Del Mar Oaks in August.
Cassidy expressed enthusiasm for post position 5 for the filly, saying he generally expects a poor post. Regular rider Victor Espinoza has the call.
Gabby's Golden Gal – The Filly & Mare Sprint contender Gabby’s Golden Gal walked onto the track at Churchill Downs at 7:30 a.m. and proceeded to haul exercise rider Jorge Alvarez through a brisk early-morning gallop.
“She’s always like that,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said of the 4yo Medaglia d’Oro filly’s on-the-muscle nature.
Baffert brings Gabby’s Golden Gal to the Breeders’ Cup for owner Arnold Zetcher off a nine-month layoff. Her last out was a victory in the Jan. 31 Santa Monica Handicap over Breeders’ Cup Mile contender Proviso at Santa Anita.
“She had little nagging issues, we’d get over one and then she’d get another one. Just little issues,” Baffert explained. “I didn’t think we were going to make this race, but then all of the sudden she started coming around. She’s in the Fasig-Tipton Sale (Nov. 7) so then I said, ‘Well, if I get a couple good works in, I might have a chance to make the Breeders’ Cup.’ You can do it with the good ones. I think I’ve got a pretty good foundation on her.”
Informed Decision – The defending Filly & Mare Sprint champion accompanied stablemate Forever Together to the track Wednesday morning for “a mixture of jogging and galloping,” according to Barry Wiseman, assistant to trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Informed Decision had walked Tuesday after working 4f in 47 4/5 on Monday.
“She’s feeling good,” said Wiseman, who was aboard Informed Decision Wednesday morning.
The 5yo daughter of Monarchos has achieved most of her success on synthetic surfaces, but she has performed well over the Churchill dirt, having captured the 2009 Humana Distaff before coming back to finish a fast-closing third this year.
“We feel this track is not like a traditional dirt track. They don’t encounter the base as suddenly; it’s got some depth to it. It’s softer,” Wiseman said. “Synthetics are her specialty, but seven-eighths is her distance. We came with her a few days early to let her adapt to the change from Polytrack to dirt.”
Jessica Is Back/First Passage – Trainer Marty Wolfson will have mixed emotions after the Filly & Mare Sprint no matter how Jessica Is Back fares in the race. After her performance on Friday, she will be paraded in the sales ring at the Night of Stars on Sunday at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale in Lexington.
“Yes it will be bittersweet,” Wolfson said. “I really want to keep her, but she will be in that sale no matter what.”
A lifetime earner of almost $800,000 from 45 starts, the Farnsworth Stables color-bearer has two wins, two seconds, and two thirds in 2010. Wolfson has trained her in only 15 of those starts after claiming her for $50,000 in April 2009.
“I claimed her after watching her run so many times,” he said. “I liked the way she ran, but I also wanted her as a broodmare.”
The 6yo mare has been idle since finishing third behind Filly & Mare Sprint morning line favorite Rightly So in the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga on August 28th, but Wolfson said that Jessica is Back is in fine form for Friday. She is scheduled to gallop 1 1/2 m Thursday morning.
Her stablemate First Passage, a $1.2 million yearling purchase, was also pre-entered in the race, but she is second on the also-eligible list so Wolfson will start her in the Chilukki Stakes on Friday’s undercard.
“It’s very disappointing because I really wanted to run her in the Breeders’ Cup along with Jessica,” said Wolfson, who will also put First Passage in the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky sale.
Moontune Missy – Moontune Missy has made just two starts all year, but they are good enough for trainer Eoin Harty to be optimistic going into a competitive race of 14 fillies and mares.
The 4yo daughter of Forest Wildcat was impressive in the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 25th when she made the front but then got caught before the wire by My Jen, who is also entered in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
“This filly has never disappointed me,” Harty said. “She turned in a big effort in that race. This race is super tough, but if you’re not in it, you can’t win it. Off her effort (in the Gallant Bloom) she certainly deserves a shot.”
Moontune Missy will have the advantage of breaking from post 6 in the full gate and Harty thinks that will only help her in the 7f dash to the wire.
“I couldn’t have asked for better,” he said of the post. “This is a very big filly and she’s also a very sensible filly. She is easy to train and is a pleasure.”
My Jen – The 3yo daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus galloped 1m under exercise rider Nickola Ward at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning.
The Eddie Kenneally-trained filly drew post 1 for the Filly & Mare Sprint – a post position from which she suffered the only two losses of her six-race career. However, her trainer attributed her first loss to the sloppy track at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 9, while her comeback effort from the rail in the Victory Ride at Saratoga on Aug. 28 resulted in a solid second-place finish.
“The race unfolded nicely,” Kenneally said. “She sat in a nice stalking position and ran a good race to finish second off an eight-month layoff.”
My Jen returned to capture the Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park in her most recent start.
Rightly So – Trainer Tony Dutrow sent the 3-1 morning line favorite out for a 1 1/8 m gallop on Wednesday morning along with stablemates Havre de Grace (Ladies’ Classic) and Joyful Victory (Juvenile Fillies).
“She’s doing great, couldn’t be better,” he said. “I’m very happy.”
The filly has blazing early speed, having set identical fractions of :22 1/5, 1:09 1/5, 1:09 1/5, and 1:22 2/5 in her last two starts, winning the Bed of Roses Handicap at Belmont and then the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga in gate-to-wire fashion.
“She’s very fast and she’s going to be in front,” said Dutrow. “She’s in excellent form.”
Rinterval – Jerry Jamgotchian’s Rinterval, who gamely finished a neck behind Zenyatta in the 1 1/16 m Clement Hirsch Handicap, jogged 2m on Wednesday and schooled in the paddock with horses during the third race.
Rinterval had remained at her Keeneland base on Tuesday morning and came to Churchill Downs later that afternoon. The Eric Reed trainee will return to the 7f distance that saw her finish only a head behind champion Informed Decision in the Chicago Handicap when she takes on that rival again in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. She drew the 10 post in the 14-horse field.
“We wanted to be mid-to-outside because we were worried about getting trapped, so we’re pleased,” Reed said. “There are a couple of horses in there with speed that are quicker than we are, so we should be able to get a clean trip, which we wanted because she’s never been on the dirt. She should be in a stalking position and be close at the top of the stretch and then it’s up to Rafael (Bejarano) from there.”
Sara Louise – The Filly & Mare Sprint contender went out with Dirt Mile runner Vineyard Haven in the second set of Godolphin runners on Wednesday morning, getting her first trip over the Churchill Downs track since arriving from Belmont Park. She jogged 1m and galloped 1 1/4 m, as did all of her stablemates.
Sara Louise enters the Filly & Mare Sprint with just one start under her girth this season, a third-place finish in the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 25.
“That really wasn’t by design,” assistant trainer Rick Mettee said. “We would have liked to have a couple more runs into her, at least one more, but she had nagging foot issues that plagued her throughout the early summer and we just couldn’t get a race into her. We were trying to get her ready for the Honorable Miss and then the Ballerina and we missed those, so at least we got the one good comeback race.
“In a perfect world we would have gotten more into her than the one race, so I don’t know if she’s back to her best, but she worked really good the other day at Belmont.”
The 4yo daughter of Malibu Moon breezed 4f in 47 3/5 on Oct. 30.
“I think she’s as good as we can possibly get her right now,” said Mettee. “Whether she’s at the level she was last year, we really don’t know, but that’s why she was left in training – to run on this track where she won as a 2-year-old. So we’re trying to make the best of it.”
Secret Gypsy – The Sea of Secrets mare, on a three-race win streak, galloped 1m on Wednesday as she prepared for her assignment in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
“She’s doing great,” trainer Ronny Werner said. “The three-hole is a good spot for her, so we’re happy.”
Sweet August Moon – The Pennsylvania-bred mare went trackside Wednesday morning under exercise rider Colleen Hartford, visiting the Churchill Downs paddock prior to galloping 1 1/2m around the track at approximately 8:45.
The multiple-stakes winner, by Malibu Moon, has been assigned post 8 in the 14-horse lineup and will be handled for the first time by Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith.
“That post is a good one for her,” trainer Brian Koriner said at his Barn 27 headquarters Wednesday morning. “She’s got enough natural speed that she can take up a good spot from there and come at them late. We’re good to go.”
Switch – The 3yo filly was first out of trainer John Sadler’s Barn 39 headquarters Wednesday morning, heading to the track under exercise rider Jose Alferez for a 1 1/2 m gallop at 6 a.m.
The daughter of Quiet American is a three-time winner, but had the spotlight shone upon her brightest of all in her last start, a race in which she was beaten. The race was the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park Oct. 2 and the horse she finished second to that day was the mighty Zenyatta, who ran her down by a half-length in deep stretch.
Was Sadler concerned that his filly had been bested by perhaps the best horse in the land?
“We kept a good eye on her after that race,” the California-based conditioner said. “We knew she was going to race next year at 4 and, if that race would have taken a lot out of her, we would have backed off and given her some time. But she came right out of it and seemed none the worse for wear. She’s doing really well and coming up to her start here in very good shape.”
Joel Rosario will ride Switch Friday for the fourth time in what will be the 10th start of her career. In his three other outings on her, the 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic has won twice and finished second once.
Tidal Pool – Needing a defection from the field to get into the Filly & Mare Sprint, Tidal Pool continues to train as if she’ll make the field for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Lukas sent her out to gallop 1 1/2 m on Wednesday, hopeful that she will go to the gate on race day, Friday. She is winless in her last six outings, all but once in graded stakes.