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Breeders Cup 2015

Shirreffs Seeks Preakness-Milady Double

Trainer John Shirreffs shoots for a transcontinental stakes sweep Saturday when he saddles Mr. Commons in the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico while sending out Makoma in the Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Assistant Michelle Jensen will saddle Makoma in the absence of her boss in Maryland and hopes for a replay of Kentucky Derby Day in 2005, when she saddled Hollywood Story to victory in the Hawthorne Handicap here shortly after Shirreffs sent out Giacomo to a startling upset at Churchill Downs.

Victor Espinoza, who won on Hollywood Story after she nearly fell on the first turn, has the Preakness call on Mr. Commons, who drew the outside post in a field of 14 and was listed at 20-1 in the morning line. The Preakness will be simulcast here Saturday during a card that begins early – 11 a.m. first post.

“That’s my thought,” said Jensen Thursday of her hopes for a replay.

“Makoma is at the top of her game now and is a beautiful mover. I’m going to school her during the first race today.”

Makoma, a homebred owned by Jerry and Ann Moss, will make her stakes debut after two wins in five starts. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred filly is by Malibu Moon out of the Dixieland Band mare Rhapsodic and will be ridden for the first time by Chantal Sutherland.

Makoma seeks to give Shirreffs his fourth victory in six years in the Milady, a Grade II test for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on Cushion Track. The conditioner won with Proposed in 2006 before scoring twice with the legendary Zenyatta for the Mosses in 2008 and 2009.

Trainer Bob Baffert also seeks a Preakness-Milady sweep. He will saddle Midnight Interlude with Martin Garcia in quest of a sixth Preakness win and send out American Story with Alonso Quinonez in quest of an initial Milady score.

After agonizing much of the week, trainer Art Sherman elected to run Ultra Blend in her first try in graded stakes company in the Milady instead of the Fran’s Valentine Stakes for California-breds Sunday. “I’m going to try her,” said Sherman of the multiple Cal-bred stakes winner. “I think it’s the time. I hope I’m right.”




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