Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
What a weekend for the girls. Selecting ZATT’s Star of the Week is rarely simple, but with three superlative performances by three extremely talented fillies, all within 24 hours, the decision on who should get the highly coveted weekly honor was a true nailbiter.
It all started at 5:48 yesterday afternoon at Saratoga. In a performance fitting of a champion, Princess of Sylmar all but cinched up an Eclipse Award by winning her third straight grade 1 race in the prestigious Alabama. Running 1 ¼ miles for the first time and getting squeezed at the start proved nothing more than mere footnotes on her unstoppable march towards a season to remember. In what is becoming all too familiar to her competition, the King of Prussia Stable runner was relaxed early back in fourth place under Javier Castellano, before making a powerful move on the turn. She quickly swept to the lead as the field turned for home, and not even a determined effort by three-time graded stakes winner, Fiftyshadesofhay, could offer any real challenge. The final margin may have only said 2 ½ lengths, but the ease in which Princess of Sylmar ended the race was a sight to behold.
Then just minutes later, it was Dank who threw her hat into the ring with the most impressive turf race run by a female in the nation this year. It was not the first time we’ve seen a classy European come to America and flash a jaw dropping turn of foot on U.S. turf, but yesterday’s win by the daughter of Dansili was nothing short of special. In making Arlington Park’s Beverly D her 6th lifetime win in 11 starts, Dank turned a seemingly competitive looking affair into an absolute runaway. Exploding down the stretch as if shot out of a cannon, she went from a menacing position on the outside to an insurmountable lead in the blink of an eye. Ultimately winning by 4 ¼ lengths, and in stakes record time, I would only need the Sir Michael Stoute trained filly to show up to Santa Anita this fall to tab her as the one to beat in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.
Finally, this afternoon in sunny California, it was Reneesgotzip who wowed the fans with a monster performance. I don’t have video of this one yet, but suffice it to say, Reneesgotzip scorched the earth and the Del Mar polytrack in as impressive fashion as could be. Final time for the 6 ½ furlongs was 1:14.48, breaking the track record at the Suburban San Diego oval. As is her custom, the four-year-old daughter of City Zip when right the early lead and dared her competition to try to keep up. They could not. Throwing down the gauntlet with a 22.43 and 44.46 in today’s Rancho Bernardo, she opened up 2 1/2 lengths going into the far turn, and from there, she only extended her margin, before cruising home to a 4 ¼ length victory over Winding Way. On the heels of a similar type of victory over Executiveprivilege in her last, it is becoming apparent that Reneesgotzip is one of the fastest horses in America of either gender.
Three great efforts by three fillies, one sprinting, one on turf, and one at a 1 ¼ miles at Saratoga. You could see why this decision was not easy. In the end, though, I had to go with Princess of Sylmar. I’ve made no secret about my affection for the beautiful daughter of Majestic Warrior this year, so if you’d like to throw the bias flag on me, so be it, but I feel while both Dank and Reneesgotzip were overpowering in their dominance on the grass, and sprinting, respectively, I could not look past the filly winning a historic and prestigious race at America’s classic test of ten furlongs on the dirt. ZATT’s Star of the Week, is … Princess of Sylmar!