Trainer Bobby Ribaudo was disappointed but relieved outside
his Clare Court
barn Sunday morning, a day after a disastrous outing for his fleet 4-year-old
The daughter of Saarland,
owned by Marc Keller, was expected to have a strong chance to win the Grade 1,
$250,000 Ballerina, but bad things began to happen early.
“From the time we got in the paddock, nothing went right,”
Ribaudo said. “She lost a shoe in the paddock and had to be re-shod. Then she
acted up in the gate, then broke right into [Pretty Prolific] leaving the gate,
then she’s back getting dirt in the face for the first time. The jock [Rajiv
Maragh] is fighting her, and she’s fighting him, and the more he takes hold,
she’s trying to get out.”
Eventually, the saddle slipped on Qualia, she bore out badly
and slowly crossed the finish line in last.
Ribaudo was demoralized because Qualia had been on a
carefully calibrated schedule: the Bed o’ Roses on July 5, the Ballerina and
then, if all went well, the Breeders’ Cup.
“Now, that next start is very important,” Ribaudo said.
“That will be the Gallant Bloom at Belmont.
It’s 6 ½ [furlongs] and it’s a month from now. That gives you plenty of time
until the Breeders’ Cup.”
Ribaudo added that veteran turf runner Grand Couturier
will be pointed toward a title defense in the Grade 2, $150,000 Bowling Green on September 11 at Belmont Park.
“He’s doing very, very well,” Ribaudo said.