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Perfect Shirl on Comeback Trail

Perfect Shirl, ridden by jockey Patrick Husbands and trained by Roger Attfield wins the Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on on November 4, 2011.

Charles Fipke’s 5-year-old Kentucky homebred mare Perfect Shirl, upset winner of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs in 2011, made only one start after that when finishing a disappointing eighth as the favorite in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 25 this year.

“She got injured after that race, a condylar fracture in her right foreleg,” said veteran horseman Roger Attfield from his winter headquarters at Payson Park Friday morning. Attfield was inducted into the Saratoga Hall of Fame this summer.

“They put three screws in the leg. I had hoped to get her back to the Breeders’ Cup again this year (Santa Anita), but I just ran out of time. So then I gave her even more time. She’s coming along well now, jogging and galloping. Hopefully, we’ll get her back to racing here sometime in February or March.”

More immediately, Attfield has a top turf stakes performer that may see action over the Gulfstream course in next Saturday’s (Dec. 22) $75,000 El Prado Stakes at one mile. Robert Harvey’s 5-year-old Canadian homebred gelding Hollinger will likely be one of the favorites if he starts following a game runner-up finish in the Tropical Park Turf (G3) at Calder on Nov. 30.

“I’m looking to run him right now. He’s been unlucky a time or two this season,” said Attfield, referring to the fact that that the roan/gray son of Black Minnaloushe has finished second four times in eight starts this year with no wins and only one trip to the winners’ circle in two years.

Two of those runner-up efforts came in stakes over the Gulfstream course in January when he finished a close-up third in the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G3) and was moved up to second on a disqualification, and then a tough loss when second by a half-length behind Get Stormy in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in February, his major goal this winter again if all goes well.

 

 

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