BC Notes: Bolt D’Oro ‘Super Happy,’ Unique Bella Got ‘A Lot Out Of’ Final Prep


Bahamian – It was back to the track Wednesday after a day of walking following a final workout on Monday for trainer Simon Callaghan’s Breeders’ Cup Sentient Juvenile prospect. He also went through the paddock prior to going 1 ½m for his exercise. His regular exercise rider Seraphin Carmona was aboard.

Bahamian, still a maiden after three tries, is owned by Reddam Racing. He’ll be ridden in Saturday’s Juvenile by Mario Gutierrez.

Bolt d’Oro – Undefeated Bolt d’Oro galloped 1 ½m under exercise rider Carlos Aguilar Wednesday morning at Del Mar.

“He’s stretching out good; he’s happy,” owner/trainer Mick Ruis said. “That’s all we want going into the race, having him super happy and showing he right where we need him to be.”

The morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Juvenile has impressed Ruis with his professionalism and relaxed nature, which he attributes to his unusual early training at his Montana farm.

“We took him on the trails. He saw deer; he saw elk. He’s not real spooky. When we first got him, after we broke him, we put him in a 10-acre field and he ran around in full stride,” Ruis said. “I grated my teeth, saying, ‘There’s $630,000 running around. If he trips, he’s gone.’ But they just need to be horses. If they’re going to get hurt there, they’re going to get hurt here. We had 14 babies we broke and we didn’t have one of them shin-buck.”

Ruis credited farm manager/trainer Ike Green for Bolt d’Oro’s preparation for his racing career, which has begun with three straight victories, including the Del Mar Futurity trumph.

“He’s an old-school guy. He’s not going to baby them; he’s going to let them be a horse; and then we’ll see what we got,” Ruis said. “When we took the 2-year-olds to the track, they all stood there in a row. Bolt was one of them. They all watched horses go buy, bucking and kicking. My horses were standing, four in a set, like older horses.”

Firenze Fire  The first Grade 1 winner for owner Mr Amore Stables and trainer Jason Servis was reported to be a little “quieter” than normal Wednesday morning after a very long trip from the east coast the day before.

“But, he ate good and that’s always good,” said Servis, who didn’t send him out to gallop 1m until 8:30 a.m. under his son Garrett, who jetted in from Florida to handle the assignment.

With the connections making their first Del Mar appearance, Servis didn’t have a local exercise rider nailed down. Since both of his sons were already coming for the race, 27-year-old Garrett, who sells commercial real estate at Florida’s Payson Park and works horses at Palm Meadows, packed his boots and vest on the plane from South Florida and was pressed into service.

Also on hand at the barn was owner Ron Lombardi, who named the stable in honor of his first horse, Mr Amore, who was euthanized after a training accident and never raced for him. Champagne Stakes winner Firenze Fire will be Lombardi and Servis’ third Breeders’ Cup starter, following the 2013 and 2014 appearances of former claimer Tight End Touchdown.

“It’s great to be back. This is the Super Bowl of racing and it can’t be more exciting. This is the greatest sporting event of all. I’ve been to Super Bowls, World Series and all and nothing compares to this, especially when you’re here as an owner. It’s off the charts,” Lombardi said.

Even better, Firenze Fire is a homebred out of My Every Wish.

“I claimed the mare (for $16,000) and she wasn’t able to run anymore so I had her on the farm for two years and then decided to breed her, and here we are. When you’re in the Breeders’ Cup with a homebred, and a Grade 1-winning homebred, it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Lombardi, the owner of SportsCare, a chain of physical therapy and sports medicine franchises with approximately 60 outlets in New York, New Jersey and Florida plus a restaurant in Hoboken, N.J.

Lombardi has about 15 horses with Servis and a few with Monmouth Park-based Kelly Breen.

“I grew up in Long Branch, New Jersey less than a mile from Monmouth Park. My parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles went to the track every Saturday. I remember when I was 5-years-old and would get in the car with my father and uncles and drive to Asbury Park and wait for the train to come in the station. We waited for The Telegraph so we could start handicapping Friday night for Saturday,” he said. “If somebody in the family won that day, we went out to eat. If not, we ate at home.”

Although Lombardi is a racetracker from way back, he’s hoping for some beginner’s luck at Del Mar.

“They say the third time is the charm, but I hope it’s the first time,” he said.

Servis reported that he would monitor Firenze Fire for the rest of the day and then formulate his schedule for the rest of the week.

Free Drop Billy and Hollywood Star – Trainer Dale Romans said Wednesday that Free Drop Billy and Hollywood Star both owned by Albaugh Family Stables have settled in well at Del Mar. They worked Saturday morning Free Drop Billy smartly, while Hollywood Star, wearing blinkers for the first time, did not impress Romans. The colts both stood in the gate and galloped 1 1/2 m Wednesday morning under exercise rider Adrian Vicencio.

Romans shipped them to Santa Anita from his base at Churchill Downs in mid-October. They trained at Santa Anita on Oct. 21 and were moved to Del Mar after the track opened for training on Oct. 23. The early ship to California is part of the Romans playbook when the Breeders’ Cup is held in California.

“I like to ship them early and get them used to the environment. It’s been perfect,” he said. “It was just starting to get cold in Kentucky and getting hot out here and I didn’t want to take a chance shipping from cold to hot, even though it’s not that here now. They’ve been good.”

Givemeaminit  Louisiana-bred 2yo Givemeaminit enters the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a Grade I-placed maiden for owner Valene Farms and trainer Dallas Stewart. In his first trip across the country, the son of Star Guitar appears to have taken well to the ship and has been spirited in his gallops. In three lifetime starts, the bay colt has a second and third, including a runner-up effort on debut at Saratoga to Sporting Chance, who came back to defeat him again in the Grade 1 Hopeful. Third by a neck in said event after a rough start, Givemeaminit was a head behind next-out Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity winner Free Drop Billy. Givemeaminit was fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.

“Those couple of races at Saratoga were very good. We got beaten by some nice horses. Free Drop Billy is a good horse and we ran very competitively with him. Looking at our last race, the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, we had some trouble. Brian Hernandez had to avoid the horse who got injured. Having said that, we thought he deserved another shot at the big time. He should get better as he matures and he’s shipped good. I have trained for Valene Farms for a long time, including a stakes at Saratoga with Designer Legs a couple years ago. Murray (Valene) is a great man to train for.”

Good Magic  e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Good Magic enters the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as a maiden, but is very highly regarded by his lofty connections. Trained by Chad Brown, the son of Curlin cost $1 million at Keeneland’s September 2016 Sale and has been second in both his starts.

On debut, he lost by a length as the 3-4 favorite in Saratoga maiden company to fellow Juvenile entrant Hazit. Five weeks later, the chestnut colt was an excellent second in the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont going a flat mile.

“We’ve always thought a lot of this horse,” Brown said. “Although he’s a maiden, I think he’s run two really good races. He’s always improving and after the Champagne I said that he was really going to have to prove to me that he’s ready to take another step forward. He’s done that in his works and has earned the right to be here. If he finds himself in a good spot early, I think he’ll be right there.

“I have a lot of respect for Bolt d’Oro,” Brown continued. “He’s run huge numbers and he hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s a tall order to take him down, but it’s a horse race, so I think our horse has at the very least earned himself a spot in the starting gate.”

Bob Edwards, principal of e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, expressed confidence in his colt. ‘e Five’ stands for the five ‘Edwards’ of his family, including wife Kristine and children Cassidy, Delaney and Riley. Cassidy is a fashion writer for America’s Best Racing, while Delaney is soon to join University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. Last year, the family celebrated a victory with its first Breeders’ Cup entrant, Brown-trained New Money Honey in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“Based on the Ragozin numbers, he’s the third-fastest 2-year-old in the country,” Edwards said. “Obviously Bolt d’Oro is going to be tough, but Curlins mature differently and gradually. He keeps showing us more and more and Chad is very pleased with him.

“There’s something about the horse,” Edward continued. “He’s all business and we’re giving him an opportunity to rise to the occasion because he keeps improving. The Stonestreet people are great people and they break all my babies and I can’t say enough great things about Barbara Banke. I typically go for pedigree fillies or fast 2-year-old in training, but they gave me the opportunity to get involved with this colt and I’m glad they did. He’s very exciting.”

Hazit – Trainer Todd Pletcher is slated to saddled Hazit for a start in Saturday’s Juvenile in the hopes that the son of War Front runs back to his sharp career debut.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Hazit turned in a thoroughly professional front-running triumph by a length at Saratoga at 6 ½ f on the Travers Stakes undercard Aug. 26.

“I thought his debut at Saratoga was very good,” Pletcher said. “It was a typical Travers Day maiden race with a field of highly regarded horses. He did everything professionally.”

Hazit subsequently chased the pace before fading to fifth in the mile Champagne around one turn Oct. 7.

“He trained well for the Champagne. But in the Champagne he was a touch keen and he attended a pretty hot pace. It seems like if you looked at the results of the race, most of the horses that did well in the Champagne came from a bit off the pace,” Pletcher said. “It was only his second start. He came back and has trained well.”

Hazit will make his two-turn debut in the 1 1/16m Juvenile.

“It’s a tall order, but he’s a colt who’s always trained like he has a lot of potential,” Pletcher said. “I think the two turns will help him; it might help him relax a little bit. Hopefully, he’ll find his way into a good, comfortable rhythm.”

The Tabulator – Carolyn Wilson’s The Tabulator enters the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile as one of the few horses with a victory over the 1 1/16m distance around two turns. The $460,000 OBS purchase won the Grade 3 Iroquois last out at Churchill Downs, earning himself some Kentucky Derby qualification points in the process for trainer Larry Rivelli, who finished fifth in the 2015 Juvenile with Cocked and Loaded.

The nearly black colt drew post seven in the field of 12.

“I really like the post with him,” Rivelli said. “In these types of races, it’s a more truly run race without some guy going out there too fast. We have taught him to rate. He has the speed to be up there, but he can relax now and Jose (Valdivia, Jr.) really gets along with him. I really believe he has a chance to finish in the top three in this race and I think he’ll keep getting better. He’s had a nice break coming into this race and is one of the best horses I’ve trained.”


Mark Casse (Heavenly Love, Gio Game, Wonder Gadot) Trainer Mark Casse’s triple threat each galloped 1 ½ m Wednesday morning ahead of their upcoming Breeders’ Cup date Saturday. The nine-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer and Canadian Hall of Famer thinks he’s holding a strong hand and is especially impressed by Heavenly Love.

“Her race in the Alcibiades was awesome. She looked like she did it while only in second or third gear. Hopefully, when Julien (Leparoux) pushes the gas pedal she’ll have another,” he said of Debby Oxley’s homebred daughter out of Darling My Darling, the fifth-place finisher in the 1999 Juvenile Fillies.

Under Leparoux, the daughter of Malibu Moon demolished her rivals in the Alcibiades as she blew past the leader in the lane and drew off to a 5 ½-length win.

“If she comes away from here running, because there’s some speed, we’re going to save some ground, hopefully, and it’s going to be up to Julien to find a way out,” Casse said.

Casse has a well-earned and long-standing reputation as an excellent developer of young horses and he has won the Alcibiades three times. Previous winners My Conquestadory and Spring in the Air competed in the Juvenile Fillies in recent years, but neither wore the floral blanket.

“I don’t want to make comparisons, but as far as 2-year-old fillies go, she’s right up there with the best. I think if she were to run the way I think she can, maybe she’ll be the best,” her trainer said.

Heavenly Love is the last of 10 foals Darling My Darling has produced, with five to race, to date and is by far the most successful.

“I usually sell a lot, but I kept her,” Debby Oxley said after the Alcibiades win. “Darling My Darling is getting older and it’s really exciting to have a Grade 1 winner out of her.”

The Juvenile Fillies will be a family rivalry for Debby and John Oxley when Debby’s second Breeders’ Cup starter faces off against John’s Gio Game. Wonder Gadot carries the colors of Gary Barber.

With all their serious work completed at Keeneland before Monday’s arrival on the grounds, the three fillies will gallop 1 1/2m again Thursday morning and may have a schooling lesson in the paddock this week.

Maya Malibu – Though Maya Malibu is just a maiden winner, trainer Graham Motion says that she has already shown her ability earning a berth in the Juvenile Fillies. Since breaking her maiden with ease at Delaware Park on Aug. 5 the My Meadowview Farm homebred has finished second in the Spinaway and third – by 11 3/4 lengths – in the Frizette. Motion said configuration of mile races at Belmont Park, with just a single turn, may have been a factor in the Frizette.

“She’s been twice placed in Grade 1s, that’s why we’re here,” he said. “Obviously, I was a little disappointed with her last time. I thought she was somewhat in an unfavorable spot. She was drawn on the inside in the 1-hole. Honestly, I think she is more of a two-turn type horse. I think the one-turn mile wasn’t ideal for her. That’s my hope, that the two turns is going to be an advantage to her.”

Maya Malibu’s dam, Island Sand, won two graded stakes and placed in five others. My Meadowview, owned by Leonard Riggio, purchased her for $4.2 million at auction in 2007.

Moonshine Memories – Simon Callaghan continues to be a happy trainer while watching his Juvenile Fillies prospect work toward her Saturday date.

“We’re really happy with her,” Callaghan said as he walked with her to the paddock at the end of the training day. “She breezed once here and went really well,” he added about the filly who won the Del Mar Debutante during the summer.

As for being made the morning-line favorite, Callaghan quipped, “I hope he’s right.”

For her Wednesday exercise, Moonshine Memories galloped 1 ½ m with Seraphin Carmona up.

Piedi Bianchi – Trainer Doug O’Neill looks to his juvenile filly’s record at Del Mar for confidence heading into the Juvenile Fillies Saturday.

“She’s been great here,” he said. “She broke her maiden here and finished second in the Debutante. That’s a pretty good record. Let’s hope she keeps it going.”

Separationofpowers – An Eclipse Award could be on the line for Separationofpowers on Saturday when she kicks off the championship action along with 12 others in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Owned by Klaravich Stables and trained by Chad Brown, the daughter of Candy Ride will have to hope that the outside post 13 is a lucky one.

Last out, the bay filly was a strong winner of the Grade I Frizette Stakes at Belmont. The effort was her second victory from three starts. On debut, July 30 at Saratoga, the Kentucky-bred bay filly was an 11 3/4-length romper at six furlongs. Five weeks later, she was caught in a speed duel in the Grade I Spinaway Stakes at The Spa and retreated to third, beaten four lengths.

On Wednesday morning, as she had on Monday and Tuesday, the filly went to the track and galloped a smooth mile over the Del Mar main track before promptly returning to Barn DD.

“She’s training super and we’ve always thought a lot of her,” Brown said. “She had that one start in the Spinaway where she got hooked on the inside and that wasn’t a good set-up for her. Her other two starts were brilliant. She’s training brilliantly. So, fingers crossed.”

Stainless – StarLadies Racing’s Stainless made an impressive turf debut in the 1 1/16m Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland Oct. 11, closing from 13th to finish second in her first start around two turns.

“We trained her on the turf and she trained reasonably well,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “The one thing about her is that we always felt she’s one who’s going to improve with more distance.”

As well as the daughter of Flatter ran on turf, her connections have opted to run her in Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies on dirt instead of Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“She certainly ran well enough in the Jessamine to consider running her on the turf here. We felt that since we had Orbolution for the (Juvenile Fillies) Turf here for the same ownership splitting them up made sense,” Pletcher said. “We felt Stainless had potentially more upside on the dirt and stretching out on the dirt for the first time.”

Prior to her graded stakes-placing in the Jessamine, Stainless ran three times on dirt at sprint distances, winning her debut at Gulfstream Park May 29 before finishing a distant third in the Schuylerville and fourth in the Adirondack at Saratoga.


Imperial Hint  Chilean native Luis Carvajal, Jr. trains a small string of eight at Parx Racing and the other seven are claiming horses. What does his only stakes performer, graded stakes winner and first Breeders’ Cup winner mean to him?

“He is my dream,” said the 45-year-old trainer. “He is my dream come true.”

The 15 hands high, lightning fast and double graded stakes-winning Imperial Hint, dubbed “The Philadelphia Flyer,” is also a wonder for 85-year-old owner Raymond Mamone.

This is the Mamone’s only graded stakes winner and is the last one he has in training after more than 40 years in the business. He has already turned down offers in the seven figures for this modestly bred but enormously talented colt.

“This is a serious little horse. A serious horse,” said Parx racing secretary Sam Elliott, who helped arrange the invitation for Imperial Hint to run in Dubai this past winter and is on his way to Del Mar to support the home team.

The $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai race in March was not to be after the colt ran into tough luck when a major snow storm caused him to miss the flight carrying the American runners from Miami and new travel arrangements became a nightmare trip. Imperial Hint was sick by the time he got to Dubai, missed the race and the illness downgraded to pneumonia.

Now the owner, who will not be at Del Mar but home watching on TV, and Carvajal have traveled to the sport’s top echelon.

“This is the singular story for a guy like me. When I started training I always had the dream, but it’s not been very easy. I am lucky I got this horse. When you come into this business you want to be leading trainer, you want to win races, and have a barn full of nice horses, but it isn’t that easy. You need luck and a lot of patience. When I worked for Angel Penna Jr. I galloped for the barn so I sat on some of the nicest horses you can ever imagine. I know what it is to have a nice horse. I just never had a chance to train one like this one for myself,” he said. “We’re really excited about running him in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Carvajal sent the horse here Oct. 24 to give him plenty of time to acclimate, and so far, so good.

“I ask my exercise rider, Pedro Castillo, how my horse is handling the track and every day he tells me the same. He loves this track,” said Carvajal, who used to gallop his own horses until his father and former jockey, Luis Carvajal Sr., was paralyzed in a spill in Chile.

Castillo and Imperial Hint went out for a 2m gallop early this morning and the trainer said they will wait until long after the break tomorrow to avoid the heavy action when the track reopens.

“I am really happy with the post position (10) we got. That’s an advantage because he won’t have to stand in the gate and wait too long. I have a great rider in Javier Castellano and he’ll be watching everything that’s going on inside of him. That’s another advantage,” Carvajal said.

Carvajal said that being housed in the barn of Doug O’Neill is another perk as the horses take a long walk through the paddock every day to train, so schooling there is unnecessary. He added that Imperial Hint doesn’t need any gate work either.

Carvajal and Imperial Hint are a long way from home, but he feels the love flowing from Parx and as far away as South America.

“I feel all of their support. They are wings lifting me up,” said Carvajal. “This horse is a dream, but not just for me. He is also for my wife, my step-daughter, my 1-year-old son, my family in Chile, and my Parx family. He means so much to all of us.”

Whitmore – “Win and You’re In” Sprint contender Whitmore continued to show his readiness for Saturday’s 6f race as he jogged 2 m under assistant trainer Laura Moquett, wife of trainer Ron Moquett.

“He’s awesome,” said Laura Moquett, who is holding down the fort until her husband arrives Wednesday afternoon.

Whitmore, who is seeking to better his trainer’s third in the 2011 Sprint with Gentlemen’s Bet, schooled in the paddock before hitting the track.


Ami’s Mesa – Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Mesa got her first feel of the Del Mar racing surface Wednesday morning as she galloped before the renovation break with trainer Josie Carroll looking on from the backstretch viewing stand.

“She had a 12-hour van ride to Louisville (Ky., from Toronto) just to get to the plane,” Carroll said of the filly who arrived here Monday afternoon for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. “When we came out yesterday morning, it was 50-50 whether she would go out and she was sound asleep in the stall, so that was that.”

Ami’s Mesa is undefeated in four starts in 2017 with all victories coming on all-weather surfaces at Woodbine and Presque Isle Downs.

“The only question for her is the dirt,” said Carroll, who is making her first visit to Del Mar. “She breezed a couple of times on it and breezed well, but she runs on the all-weather, so why switch?”

Luis Contreras, who has been aboard for all four victories this year, has the mount Saturday and will break from post 14.

“Well, she won’t get any dirt in her face right off the bat,” Carroll said.

By the Moon – After two frustrating trips to Breeders’ Cups in California with By the Moon, trainer Michelle Nevin figures she is due for a better outcome in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

“Third time lucky, I’m hoping,” Nevin said.

Samantha Seigel’s 5yo Indian Charlie homebred mare has been a consistent performer in her four seasons on the track, winning seven times, finishing in the top three in 15 of 19 starts and banking over
$1.5 million. But in her two Breeders’ Cup races at Santa Anita she was eighth in the 2014 Juvenile Fillies, fifth in the 2016 Filly & Mare Sprint, beaten a total of 12 lengths. As her career comes to an end, By the Moon, heads toward retirement over a different California surface at Del Mar.

“I think what we learned last year is that Santa Anita, we’ve tried it twice, is probably just not our track,” Nevin said. “She’s been to many other places and really didn’t need to take her track with her, but
Santa Anita just might be not to her liking. We’re hoping that a change of surface might benefit her. Her worst efforts are when I run her at Santa Anita.”

Nevin said the mare has settled in well at Del Mar and has been easy to deal with. The Filly & Mare Sprint will be her first start since her win by a head over Highway Star on Aug. 26 in the Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course. That break was by design.

“It just felt that trying to squeeze another race in before this race would just be a little bit too much,” Nevin said. “She had a busy year, so we decided to freshen her up a little bit and come to this.”

Nevin, who is based in New York, says she typically has 40 to 45 runners in her barn.
Curlin’s Approval – Homebred Curlin’s Approval will bring Happy Alter back to thoroughbred racing’s national stage Saturday when the daughter of Curlin goes to post in Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar.

The always-colorful breeder/owner/trainer commanded a lot of attention during the late ‘80s and early 90s while teaming with Arthur Appleton’s Bridlewood Farm and saddling Jolie’s Halo for multiple Grade 1 victories, Frosty the Snowman for a victory in the King Edward Gold Cup at Woodbine in a world-record performance for 1 1/8 m on turf, and Halo’s Image for multiple graded-stakes victories.

Curlin’s Approval, a 4yo daughter of Curlin, earned an automatic berth in the Filly & Mare Sprint while winning the Princess Rooney, a ‘Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In’ stakes at Gulfstream Park July 1.  Bridlewood Farm, now owned by John and Leslie Malone, purchased a half-interest in Alter’s homebred filly two starts prior to her Princess Rooney triumph

“The nice thing now is that selling a half of her to Bridlewood, we’re back now to the winning combination of Bridlewood Farm and Alter’s Racing Stable that we had back when Jolie’s Halo was No. 1 in the nation, when Frosty the Snowman broke the world record, when we had Halo’s Image,” Alter said. “That partnership is reunited. It’s a good feeling.”

Curlin’s Approval, who breezed a half mile at Del Mar in 47.40 seconds Sunday, offered a peak performance in the Princess Rooney, scoring by 4 ½ lengths while running 7f in 1:21 3/5.

Alter acknowledged that the Filly & Mare Sprint has come up ‘very tough,’ but that his third-generation homebred has shown the brilliance to hold her own in the 7f dash.

“In the Princess Rooney, she ran the three-quarters in 1:09-and-change and finished up in 1:21-and-change,” Alter said. “I don’t think you see that in many past performances.”

Luis Saez, who rode Alter’s filly in the Princess Rooney, will be aboard again Saturday.

Finest City – Seltzer Thoroughbreds’ defending Filly & Mare Sprint champion Finest City is once again flying under the radar and returning from a layoff in the 7f race, but that is all by design, according to her trainer Ian Kruljac.

“This is the way we like it,” said Kruljac, who was just 28 and in his first year of training when Finest City won last year. “We gave her three weeks off, but she never left the barn. It was the first real break she’s had in her entire career. Hopefully, she’ll fire like a new horse. She’s doing just as good as she was this time last year.”

Finest City was among the first horses to train Wednesday morning, galloping once around the track. She is scheduled to go to the gate Thursday and gallop Friday ahead of Saturday’s race.

Finley’sluckycharm – Carl Moore’s Finley’sluckycharm galloped 1 1/2m before the morning renovation break with Sara Calhoun aboard for her husband, trainer Bret Calhoun.

Never worse than second in 11 starts in sprints, nine of which are victories, the 4yo Finley’sluckycharm will attempt Saturday to give Calhoun a second victory in the race. Dubai Majesty won the 2010 running at Churchill Downs as a 5yo.

“Dubai Majesty was an older filly who had done a lot more different things early on before I got her,” Calhoun said of the filly, who made her first 10 starts for her owner-breeder in Florida before being privately purchased.“We had to supplement her for $100,000 (to run in the Breeders’ Cup), so we were pretty confident.”

Finley’sluckycharm tipped her hand early by winning her first two starts. After her lone off-the-board finish in the 1 1/16m Rachel Alexandra, Calhoun gave the Twirling Candy filly seven months off from the races and cut her back to sprints.

“The first time out, you don’t think you are going to have a Breeders’ Cup horse,” Calhoun said. “But after she came back, we started planning for this.”

In her lone trip to the West Coast, Finley’sluckycharm finished second in the La Brea going 7f to Saturday rival Constellation.

“Anytime you come out to California to take on these sprinters and run well, it boosts your confidence,” Calhoun said.

Highway Star – Trainer Rodrigo Ubillo gives the 4yo filly Highway Star a great deal of the credit for a fine season that has carried her to the Breeder’s Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The New York-bred daughter of Girolamo has won three graded stakes this year and with $969,000 is on the verge of reaching the $1 million plateau for breeders-owners Chester and Mary Broman.

Ubillo, who is making his debut in the Breeders’ Cup, as is regular rider Angel Arroyo, describes Highway Star as a runner with the ideal temperament.

“She’s a horse who likes her job,” he said. “People ask me what makes the difference with her. She likes her job and she’s happy. She’s competitive in the afternoon. In the morning she’s your friend; in the afternoon she’s changed attitude. Not many horses are like that. We’re just happy she does.”

Highway Star has won eight of 13 career starts and Ubillo said that she is versatile enough to adapt to different distances and pace scenarios. She is perfect after four starts at 1m on the dirt and has a 3-1-0 in the 7f distance of the Filly & Mare Sprint. In her most recent start she handled the cut back in distance and won the 6 1/2f Gallant Bloom on Sept. 24 at Belmont Park by a neck over Carina Mia.

“It’s hard to say which one is best because she always tries hard,” Ubillo said. “Even the last race, she got into a little trouble on the backside. She was a little bit too far back and she came back and dug in
at the end. I think she got bumped at the top of the stretch.”

Arroyo returns in the saddle after missing the Gallant Bloom due to injury. Highway Star drew post 10 in the 11-horse field and Ubillo said that spot is fine.

“She’s a smart horse and she tells you where she wants to be,” he said. ”If they are going too slow, she’s right there. If they are going too fast she stays back. If you see her races, like in the Ballerina, where they were going really slow and she was second. She wanted to go to the lead, but Angel was too cautious and wouldn’t let her do that. It probably cost her the race because she lost by a half a head or so. She wanted to be on the lead, but he was concerned. She’s very smart and will put herself into the race. I tell Angel, ‘Don’t worry. She will tell you where she wants to be. Wherever she’s happy.”

Ubillo, 41, grew up in a racing family in Chile and hoped to be a jockey like his uncles. He grew too big for that job and moved toward training roles, first in South America and then in the U.S. He had short stints with prominent New York trainers Shug McGaughey, Christophe Clement and Nick Zito before going out on his own about a decade ago. He said his stable has 17 runners and that he often has five or six for the Bromans, who also have the John Kimmel-trained Bar of Gold in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

Chad Brown (Paulassilverlining and Carina Mia) – Trainer Chad Brown’s dynamic Filly & Mare Sprint duo of Paulassilverlining and Carina Mia had another excellent day of training over the Del Mar surface for the 7f contest Saturday.

Juddmonte Farms’ Paulassilverlining, a multiple Grade I winner this season who has a date with Arrogate in the breeding shed next spring, enters with championship implications on the line. A victory would sew up a title on the strength of three victories in four starts, including wins in Keeneland’s Madison Stakes and Churchill Downs’ Humana Distaff — both Grade I events. She must improve upon a last-out effort in which she came up empty and finished fifth in Saratoga’s Ballerina Stakes on Aug. 26 behind By the Moon. Paulassilverlining’s other effort this year was a hard-fought neck win in the Honorable Miss 30 days prior against fellow Filly & Mare Sprint entrant Finley’sluckycharm.

“They both did a routine gallop today,” Brown said. “We brought Paulassilverlining in fresh and thought that was the best approach with her. She’s training really well and I’m comfortable with that. I think maybe she ran a little too fast in the (Honorable Miss) and bounced a little bit (in the Ballerina). If you combine that with a slow pace, it didn’t really set up for her.”

Last year, she was a solid third by two lengths in the Filly & Mare Sprint behind Finest City, who also returns. She was privately purchased by Juddmonte in early March and was previously in the care of trainer Michelle Nevin, conditioner of By the Moon.

Three Chimneys Farm’s Carina Mia, like Paulassilverlining, was an addition to the Brown shedrow this year and was previously trained by Bill Mott. Ninth last year as the lukewarm 3-1 favorite in the Filly & Mare Sprint, the daughter of Malibu Moon has made three starts in 2017, with a restricted stakes win and a pair of graded stakes placings to her credit. In the aformentioned Ballerina, she was third by a length. Last out, she was a beaten even-money choice when a neck second in the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 24.

“She’s doing super,” Brown said. “She’s drawn on the inside (rail post), so she’s going to have to work out a trip from there. She’s training like she’s a top-quality filly and hopefully she’ll be able to run the race of her life to win.”

Princess Karen – Trainer Jeff Bonde, Edward Brown Jr. and Karen Norton’s Princess Karen galloped 1 1/2m early Wednesday morning as she prepared for a rematch with 9-5 morning line favorite Unique Bella in Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint.

“This is a very tough bunch of fillies and everybody is going to have to step up their game going against that big gray filly,” Bonde said in reference to Unique Bella.

Princess Karen finished second in the LA Woman at Santa Anita Oct. 8, 3 ½ lengths behind Unique Bella going 6 1/2f. In Saturday’s 7f race, Princess Karen will break from post 13 and be outside of Unique Bella, who will break from post 11.

“The 13 is a good spot and a lot better than being inside,” Bonde said. “There is a long run to the first turn.”

Julien Leparoux, who won this race in 2009 with Informed Decision, has the mount Saturday.

Skye Diamonds – “She has been training really well,” trainer Bill Spawr said of Skye Diamonds, his prospect for Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint. “The draw’s good for her,” he added.

Spawr has a reputation for astutely turning claimed horses into stakes winners. And, he appears to have done it again with Skye Diamonds. The 4yo daughter of First Dude was claimed for $40,000 in 2016 at Del Mar, but despite his reputation, he acknowledges he wasn’t looking for big things from the filly.

“I was thinking that she could win a Cal-bred condition race or two and be useful,” he said. “But, I’m really surprised that she has come this far and is a Breeders’ Cup contender. You know, with horses like this you can have some hiccups, but I’ve had no hiccups with her. She has been perfect.”

Skye Diamonds, who will have regular rider Tiago Pereira in the saddle Saturday, enters the Filly & Mare Sprint on a streak of two straight graded stakes victories.

Unique Bella  Dan Ward, the assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, said that they have every confidence that this filly is primed and good to go.

The 3yo daughter of Tapit and Unrivaled Belle, who is undefeated this year and five-for-six lifetime after finishing second in her debut, was interrupted by a shin injury that sidelined her from March until her comeback win in the L.A. Woman last out Oct. 8.

“We’ve had enough time to get her ready,” said Ward, who was also overseeing Las Vegas Mile Dirt contender Battle of Midway Wednesday. “I don’t know that we would be as confident running a mile and an eighth in the Distaff off that one sprint, but yeah, she’s ready. She’ll get a lot out of that prep because it’s like three works. It worked out perfect. The filly is doing very good.”

Home field advantage helps, too. Unique Bella is one-for-one at Del Mar.

“It’s important to know that your horse likes this track because it’s very different and there are quite a few horses that don’t like it. You can’t tell until you run because in the morning, it’s different. We know because we’re here in the summer and we have horses that train great in the morning, but in the afternoon, go ‘Ugh’,” he said. “Both of our horses are one-for-one and some of their best races were run here.”

As for her morning exercise under Freddy Rodriguez, Ward said, “She jogged around there, went through the paddock, then jogged back and went to the gate, and then galloped out. We wanted to get that out of the way today.”

Unique Bella will return to the gate Thursday, perhaps Friday.

“If they tell us we’re good, we don’t have to go back again Friday. She’s now very good going in, but because she’s so big, when she gets in there she kind of tightens up. We work with a lot, and with the starter. We talk to him every day and he likes that we bring her there every day. Whatever he tells us, that’s what we’re going to do. If we go tomorrow and he says she’s good, that’s it.

Some lessons in the paddock, where she visited before the third race, were also in order.

“She’ll need three days. She’ll get better every day. Even at Santa Anita, which is home, she needs it and gets better every day. Her mother was a handful from what they tell me, and she had been scratched several times from big races after she came over and tried to flip in the paddock. She needs a lot of work and we do it,” he said.


Giant Expectations – Exline-Border Racing and Gatto Racing’s Giant Expectations, who punched his ticket to the Dirt Mile with a victory in the Pat O’Brien here in August, hopes to give trainer Peter Eurton the first part of a 1-2 punch on the opening day of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Friday. Eurton will also saddle Champagne Room in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The New York-bred son of Frost Giant has had a stellar 2017 with three victories in five starts after being sidelined for 11 months because of a lung infection.

“He got sick, but we kept him around thinking he would get better but his blood count was still not right,” Eurton said. “We finally did an x-ray on his lungs. He had four months off at the farm and then another four months to get him ready.”

Giant Expectations went east at the end of May to break his maidens against New York breds by 9 ¾ lengths.

“He won that easily and there was a non-winners of one other than nine days later (against state-breds),” Eurton said. “So, I said if he won that could I bring him back to California and he won easily.”

Gary Stevens, who has ridden Giant Expectations in his past three starts, has the mount Friday will be break from post position two. Giant Expectations galloped a mile under Wednesday morning under exercise rider Eddie Inda and is scheduled for a paddock schooling session this afternoon.


 Lady Aurelia – Few Breeders’ Cup runners enter this year with more buzz and excitement around them than Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel’s Turf Sprint favorite Lady Aurelia.

Consistently one to break down barriers, the swift daughter of Scat Daddy became the first American-trained horse to win in consecutive years at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet this year. One race prior, she defeated older mares in stakes competition in April of her sophomore year — a feat rarely achieved, especially with hard-knocking turf sprinters. A race later, at the aforementioned Royal meeting, she smashed that to bits with a three-length romp over her elders of both sexes in the Group I King’s Stand.

Though she enters the Turf Sprint over a surprising last-jump nose loss to fellow entrant Marsha, she has garnered the respect and admiration of the racing public, especially Europeans, with five trips across the Atlantic in just seven lifetime starts. The two-time Group I winner now goes after top-level success in her home country for trainer Wesley Ward, who has no lack of adoration for his stable star.

“She’s great and truly special horse,” Ward said. “They have to have a lot of factors go their way (to travel as she has). They have to have fantastic owners who give the trainer the leverage to stop when they need to stop and let you go to certain races. It’s key to have a chance to let the horse take you there, instead of you taking them there. The trainer has to be able to aim for something long-range and try to achieve that goal. Then, hopefully, the horse can bring you there.

“We don’t want to send her (to the lead),” Ward continued. “We’ve been working on that this season. The whole key to this year was the try to get her to relax and come with a good run.”

The post BC Notes: Bolt D’Oro ‘Super Happy,’ Unique Bella Got ‘A Lot Out Of’ Final Prep appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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