Team O’Neill has been high on Clenor
ever since the Irish-bred filly arrived from the Emerald Isle this summer.
“She’s been perfect,” said trainer Doug O‘Neill’s assistant Leandro Mora when asked about the 2-year-old daughter of the Danehill stallion Oratorio before her first race. O’Neill himself gave the thumbs up sign when asked how she was doing.
Clenor broke her maiden in her first U.S. start, winning by 2 ½ lengths at one mile on turf at Del Mar Aug. 7, then came back with a similar score, this by 3 ¼ lengths, in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at the seaside venue Sept. 2.
Next up: Sunday’s $100,000 Surfer Girl at one mile on grass, Santa Anita’s last logical prep for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 1, a race for which Clenor is favored.
“She’s a nice filly,” O’Neill said. “We had high hopes for her when she came here and she’s validated them so far with two big efforts at Del Mar, so we’re pumped about her.
“(Assistants) Steve (Rothblum) and Jack (Sisterson) found her in Ireland, got the deal done and it’s been a great buy.”
The field for the Surfer Girl: South Sound, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Pleasant Miss, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Clenor, Rafael Bejarano, 6-5; Miss Lafayette, Corey Nakatani, 12-1; Feature Attraction, Alberto Delgado, 30-1; Tiz the Key, Julien Leparoux, 6-1; Miss Machiavelli, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Colonel Joan, Garrett Gomez, 6-1; Nesso, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Come on Alannah, Kayla Stra, 30-1.