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From Coast to Coast

Sweet Lulu faces tough "Test"

Sweet Lulu Del Mar 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Alex Evers
The racing world might have had to wait until her 3-year old season to see the unveiling of Sweet Lulu, but she has certainly made the wait worthwhile. Though untested thus far in her short career, Sweet Lulu has not done anything wrong, even in her debut, which was almost a debacle for the fleet daughter of Mr. Greeley.
In her debut race, the field left Sweet Lulu at the gate as the filly was slow into stride. The chestnut filly refused to languish at the back of the field, however, and quickly got up into second, a length and a half behind pacesetting Double Classie by the first call. By the second call, Sweet Lulu had struck the lead, and she steadily increased her advantage to the wire, running the 6 panels in 1.11:29 under jockey Rafael Bejarano.
Nothing takes the place of race day experience, and Sweet Lulu came away from her maiden-breaking victory having learned a valuable lesson. In her next two starts, the filly was away from the gate smartly, not giving her competition any undue advantage. In her second start, a NW1$X for three-year fillies and up going six and a half furlongs, Sweet Lulu stalked the pace from fourth before pouncing in midstretch and pulling away to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
Her third career start saw Sweet Lulu taking her show on the road, shipping from Betfair Hollywood Park to Del Mar. In that race, a one mile NW2$X optional claiming event for three-year old fillies and up, Sweet Lulu showed yet another dimension. Rather than getting left at the gate and rushing to get into the thick of things or stalking the pace, Sweet Lulu streaked straight to the lead and never looked back, pounding her competition to the tune of a 4 ¾ length win margin.
The original plan was for Sweet Lulu to make her stakes debut in the Torrey Pines at Del Mar, a race to which Beholder is being pointed, but the filly was in such good form that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer decided to take a shot at the G1 Test Stakes rather than wait another week for the Torrey Pines. In doing so, Sweet Lulu will be shipping east to try both dirt and proven stakes winners for the first time. All things considering, the spot could have been a lot tougher. Sprinting sensation Kauai Katie or last year’s West Coast darling Executiveprivilege could have landed in this spot, but the former is getting the rest of the year off and the latter just returned from a 7-month hiatus.
As it stands, Sweet Lulu will still have to face Grade 1 winners So Many Ways and Lighthouse Bay; Wildcat Lily and Irish Lute, the second and third place finishers of the G1 Prioress; Grade 3 winners My Happy Face and Baby J; and stakes winners Ju Ju Eyeballs and I’m Mom’s Favorite.
Sweet Lulu comes into the race with one of the higher last out Beyer figures, having earned a 99 for her previous start, whereas Baby J and Lighthouse Bay earned figures of 85 and 93 for their victories in the Victory Ride and Prioress respectively. My Happy Face recently ran a game second to Princess of Sylmar in the CCA Oaks, a race in which The Princess earned a 104 Beyer figure for her efforts. Ju Ju Eyeballs has proved to be an excellent claim for her connections, winning 5 of 6 off the claim, including two stakes, for new trainer Jason Servis and new owner Mr. Amore Stable.
It won’t be an easy “Test” for any of the nine fillies entered, but Sweet Lulu stands just as good a chance as any of her other rivals, especially since she has exhibited the ability to change racing tactics when necessary. In terms of stakes experience, Sweet Lulu is clearly the outsider in this accomplished bunch, but Hollendorfer obviously thinks she’s ready, and her 5-2 morning line odds (the favorite) speak volumes about how the oddsmaker perceives the betting public will view the filly. 


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Older Comments about Sweet Lulu faces tough "Test"...

You meadn PUBLISHED works...Many times they go to a private training facility, swim, all manner of things in lieu of a published work to get the same exercise.
OK, how many works at Saratoga did Blind Luck have before the Alabama? How many works at Belmont did Sahara Sky have before the Met Mile? The answer is: None
Lemme see, Cali filly ships East. They do that? Like so many ask that they do? Major step up in class rating--check, true. Rider change? They like the way Leparoux has been riding for them. She is no doubt very talented. Already wired at a mile at Del Mar. I can scream for 7f. Who do you like then? I just may have made an ass of myself, but there's my winner. Risked it.
Don't like her in the Test. First time dirt, long trip east, major step-up in class. I'd love to see a rider change, too.. SHe is no doubt very talented.
I wish they had shipped her out this way early enough to get in a published work, but she has looked so good out west. I would love to see her transfer that form to dirt.
Her first career dirt race in the Grade 1 Test? She better be good.

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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