October 30 - Filly & Mare Turf Barn Notes
Tuesday's Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf update from the Barn Notes team at Santa Anita.
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In Lingerie - Aron Wellman, president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, was on hand Tuesday morning to watch his talented and versatile 3yo filly gallop over the main track at Santa Anita as she prepared for her first try on grass in Friday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Wellman and his partners opted for the Filly & Mare Turf over the Ladies' Classic.
"Any way you slice it, it was going to be tough," said Wellman, a Southern California native who branched out onto his own syndicate after spending several years with Team Valor International. "We looked at the two options and thought that the turf was probably the lesser of two evils."
The beautifully-bred daughter of Empire Maker hasn't been off the board in seven career starts with four wins that includes this year's Black-Eyed Susan on dirt at Pimlico. Her last start was a victory over older females in the Spinster on Polytrack at Keeneland.
"With the affinity she's shown for the synthetic (3-for-3) we're hoping it transfers over to the turf," said Wellman, who was in the Team Valor partnership that included 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. "She's worked twice well here over the turf in the last two weeks, which sort of convinced us it was the right opportunity."
John Velazquez will be aboard the granddaughter of Storm Cat, who was transferred into the barn of trainer Todd Pletcher following her maiden victory at Turfway Park on Jan. 14. She was unraced at 2.
Lady of Shamrock - The 3yo daughter of Scat Daddy galloped about 1 1/2m on the Santa Anita main track Tuesday morning while "going a good clip the last part," according to trainer John Sadler.
A winner of the American Oaks in July at Hollywood Park and the Del Mar Oaks in August, Lady of Shamrock will be coming off a 10-week layoff and was listed at 12-1 in the Filly & Mare Turf morning line.
"I haven't looked, but I imagine all my horses will be good prices," Sadler said. "That's not really my concern, I just have to get my horses ready and I'm very pleased about that.
"(Morning-line favorite) The Fugue is trained by our good friend John Gosden, who we all got to know when he trained here in Southern California. He's a good guy, a popular guy, and he carries that wherever he goes. I'm sure that horse is in good form, and she is one of the reasons this is a tough race."
Marketing Mix - Leonard Lavin, the patriarch of Glen Hill Farm, turned 93 on Monday. The connections of his graded stakes-winning filly Marketing Mix would like nothing more than to present him with a winner's circle photo as his birthday gift.
"That's what we're all hoping for. He'd like nothing better," said Craig Bernick, Lavin's grandson, who took over the reins at the noted breeding and racing operation several years ago.
The 4yo daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was an impressive winner of the Rodeo Drive Stakes on this grass course in her last start. Since that race, which was her first grade 1 win, she has worked superbly. On Oct. 26, she breezed 5f in 1:00 1/5 and the move was the fastest of 31 horses working the same distance.
"She came out of her last race really, really well and her last two works were exactly what (trainer) Tom (Proctor) wanted. We are very happy with the way our horse is coming up to this race," Bernick said.
Lavin, who no longer is able to travel to the races and instead watches them on TV at Glen Hill's headquarters in Florida, was in the photo the only time one of his orange-and-black color bearers won a Breeders' Cup race. His homebred One Dreamer was the upset winner of the 1994 Distaff (now Ladies' Classic). Nine other Glen Hill Farm horses have participated in the Breeders' Cup.
Nereid/Star Billing - Trainer John Shirreffs shipped the pair of stakes-winning 4yo fillies from Betfair Hollywood Park to Santa Anita after each "jog-hacked" on the training track Tuesday.
The last time that Santa Anita hosted the Breeders' Cup, Shirreffs climaxed the event by winning the Classic with legendary mare Zenyatta, who had a statue of her unveiled in the paddock gardens on Sept. 29.
Asked if he planned to parade the pair past the statue for inspiration, Shirreffs replied, "Zenyatta is a little intimidating. Maybe I'll put a little cup over their eyes as they go by."
Zagora - Martin Schwartz's seven-time stakes winner will make her Breeders' Cup debut in her 22nd career start. The 5yo Green Tune mare enters the Filly & Mare Turf off a second-place finish by a half-length over yielding turf in the Flower Bowl on Sept. 29.
Trainer Chad Brown said Zagora shipped well from New York on Monday and jogged at Santa Anita on Tuesday.
"Zagora is doing great," Brown said. "It's a tough field, a great edition of the Filly & Mare Turf. She's going to the get the firm ground she likes and I'm confident that she will be effective at a mile and a quarter on firm ground. She has a good post inside (2) and she should get a good trip from there."