Belle of the Hall – The well-traveled mare finally got her first glimpse of Santa Anita
Thursday morning after arriving from New York Wednesday. Her trainer Tom
Albertrani was expected to arrive Thursday afternoon.
“It’s been pretty stressful,”
said Albertrani, whose Long Island home was still without power as a result of
Hurricane Sandy. “I had to go out to my car to charge my cell phone to make
Belle of the Hall has run at
nine racetracks in her 22 career starts, but the trip to Santa Anita for the 7f
Filly & Mare Sprint was undoubtedly the most difficult. She missed a day of
training awaiting travel clearance, but Albertrani isn’t concerned.
“We realize this is a big
step up in class, but she’s been doing really well and we’re hoping she has
another big race in her,” he said. “She’s coming off a really good race (Valor
Lady at Belmont), so we hope she is ready for this.”
Belle of the Hall is the
fifth Breeders’ Cup starter for Albertrani, who never has won a Cup race but
finished second with Bernardini in the 2006 Classic.
Dust and Diamonds – Padua Stables’ Gallant Bloom winner was among a group of Breeders’ Cup
starters that trainer Steve Asmussen sent to the starting gate to school and
then out for a gallop. She also was scheduled to school in the paddock with her
stablemates later in the day.
“We have a good group of
horses,” said Asmussen. “They’re all sound physically and mentally.”
Great Hot –The 30-1 morning-line longshot for the
Filly & Mare Sprint jogged 1 1/2m for trainer A.C. Avila, who conceded that
even-money favorite Groupie Doll was the horse to beat in the race, having won
four straight since the addition of blinkers.
Avila also said that track
condition could be a major factor in the race.
“If it's hard like it was
earlier in the meeting, there's going to be a lot of winners from the front.
With this (warm) weather, they're going to have to put a lot of water on the
track,” Avila said.
Groupie Doll –With regular exercise rider Jada
Schlenk aboard, Filly & Mare Sprint favorite Groupie Doll jogged 1m and
galloped 1m shortly after 7 Thursday morning.
“She was very relaxed this
morning,” said Maria Kabel, assistant to trainer and part owner Buff Bradley.
“She will go out about 6 tomorrow morning and she is scheduled to school in the
paddock with the first race tomorrow.”
Buff Bradley and his father
Fred, with whom he bred Groupie Doll, were scheduled to arrive in Southern
California later Thursday morning.
Rajiv Maragh, who has been
aboard Groupie Doll in her past five starts of which the past four have been
daylight victories, will have the mount Saturday.
“The first time Rajiv worked
her, she went a half-mile in 46 and he told Buff that he was going to win the
Breeders’ Cup on this horse,” said Kabel, who has lived on the Bradleys’ farm
in Frankfort, Ky., for 14 years and galloped Groupie Doll’s dam, Deputy Doll.
Musical Romance – For trainer and co-owner Bill Kaplan, this year’s Filly & Mare
Sprint will prove a bittersweet moment for the longtime conditioner who likely will
bid farewell to his Eclipse Award winning female sprinter Musical Romance
following her attempted title defense in this year’s race.
“She’s made my job a whole
lot more fun these past few years,” Kaplan said. “It’s going to be really
difficult saying goodbye.”
Musical Romance, who has run
40 times in a career that dates back to September 2009, is scheduled to pass
through sales ring at the Fasig-Tipton November sale. The daughter of
Concorde’s Tune has won stakes on dirt, turf, and synthetic tracks, at
distances ranging from 5 1/2f to 1m.
“She’s really a unique mare,”
Kaplan said. “Not only is she a Breeders’ Cup champ, she is just an amazing
animal. She has run 40 times and is a world-class sprinter, and that just
doesn’t happen; horses like that don’t last. She runs on anything, and she is
as sound today as she was back in her first race. She’s one of a kind.”
In order for Musical Romance
to end her career with a successful title defense in the Filly & Mare
Sprint, and perhaps as a repeat Eclipse Award champion, she will have to take
down current divisional leader Groupie Doll, who enters the race having won
four straight stakes.
“For any horse to go out
there and win those races the way she has, by daylight, is impressive,” Kaplan
said of his rival. “We’ve faced her three times this year and she’s beat us
twice (in the Vinery Madison and Humana Distaff) while we got her once in the
race at Gulfstream (Inside Information).
“But they did meet again, you
know? Groupie Doll flew here with us from Keeneland and was in the next stall
over from us; they were side by side on the flight. And my assistant Freddie
(Guzman) told me that for much of the flight, Musical Romance was eyeballing
her. So who knows, maybe she put the evil eye on her.
“All kidding aside, I believe
my mare is better this year than she was last year, and we have no excuses at
all going into the race.”
Rumor – The
Indian Charlie filly, a winner in five of 11 starts and a starter in Saturday’s
Filly & Mare Sprint, was out at 6 a.m. Thursday for a jog alongside one of
trainer Richard Mandella’s stable ponies.
“She’s been a good, steady filly for us,”
Mandella stated as he walked back to his Santa Anita barn.
Mandella was confident ahead
of Saturday’s race.
“She’ll knock ‘em to their knees,” he said
with a smile.
If pressed, Mandella probably
would have confessed the fact that his statement might have been slightly
influenced by the lady who walked at his side, Dell Hancock of Kentucky’s
famous Claiborne Farm, part owner of Rumor.
Hancock, in from Kentucky the
day before, talked about her filly’s entry in the Filly & Mare Sprint.
“We were trying to decide whether or not to
run her in the race and going ‘round and ‘round,” she said. “Then in the end,
we said: ‘Let’s just leave it up to Richard.’ He’s so good with the horses – he
always puts them first – that we knew he’d do the right thing. I believe in him
100 percent. If he said to put her in the race, then I’d know he thought we’d
have a shot. So we’re in, and now we’ll see how we do.”
Hancock was asked if this
might possibly be Rumor’s last run; if she might be headed back to Kentucky as
part of the Claiborne broodmare band.
“Let’s see how she runs in this race first,”
she said. “It’s not like she’s had a lot of races.”
Switch – The runner-up in the last two editions of the Filly & Mare
Sprint galloped 1 1/4m at 5:45 a.m. with a set of John Sadler-trained horses.
Teddy's Promise – The California-bred 4yo filly jogged on the Santa Anita main track
Thursday under exercise rider Manny Segundo for trainer Ron Ellis.
Turbulent Descent – Trainer Todd Pletcher has had the 4yo daughter of Congrats for only two
races, but he knew after she won the Ballerina at Saratoga in late August that she
was coming back to the Breeders’ Cup for another try at the Filly & Mare
She was aboard the last plane
of horses that shipped from New York after being delayed by Hurricane Sandy.
“She came in really well,” Pletcher said. “It
was a nice win at Saratoga, and she’s been touting us in her training since the
Gallant Bloom that she’s in her best form.”
Turbulent Descent finished
fourth in the Gallant Bloom.
“We encountered a very speed-favoring track
and she didn’t break well from the gate,” Plecther said. “It seemed for
whatever reason around that time period that nobody was making up very much
ground at Belmont Park I don’t think she
really cared for the way the track was playing.”
Turbulent Descent was off
from December until June when in the barn of California-based trainer Mike
Puype, but Pletcher said he believed there was nothing major wrong physically.
“She was fine when we got her