Photo: Hollywood Park
It may not be quite at the level of Goldikova winning
the Breeders’ Cup Mile for a third time but Treat Gently hopes to post another
major stakes victory for a female against males in the $250,000 Grade I
Hollywood Turf Cup Saturday.
Treat Gently, a 5-year-old mare, worked three
furlongs in 36.40 seconds on Cushion Track Thursday under exercise rider Leana
Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, after being flown west from Kentucky
“We just wanted to blow her out and open her lungs a
little bit,” explained Willaford. “She felt good. She’s settled good. She’s
Treat Gently, a Juddmonte Farms homebred, drew post
two under Patrick Valenzuela and will carry 123 pounds, three less than seven
male rivals, in the 1 ½-mile grass test.
Willaford said the Turf Cup appeared to be an
inviting spot. “She’s a little difficult to place,” she said. “She likes the
longer distances. Juddmonte already had another horse in the Breeders’ Cup
Filly & Mare Turf (Midday, who finished second). And she comes off a very
creditable race against the boys at Belmont (a
fourth-place finish in the Grade I Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational October
2, 2 ¾ lengths behind winner Winchester.)”
English-bred Treat Gently was a Group II winner in France for Andre Fabre in 2008 before coming to
the United States
in 2009. She has won two of seven starts this year, highlighted by the Grade II
Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont
“We’d like to get her covered up or she can be a
little bit keen,” said Willaford, confident that Valenzuela will be up to the
task in his first ride on the mare.
Hall of Famer Mott will be after his second Grade I
stakes victory in California
this year with a female against males on turf. Proviso won the Frank Kilroe
Mile at Santa Anita in March.
Treat Gently seeks to become the second female to win
the Turf Cup in its 28-year history. Champion Miss Alleged won the race in
1991. Juddmonte racing manager Garrett O’Rourke is scheduled to attend
Two other Turf Cup entrants also blew out three
furlongs on the main track Thursday: Buenos Dias for Hall of Famer Ron McAnally
and Worth Repeating for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, both in 38.40.
Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, who will be
represented by Marlang in the race, said a second candidate, Bourbon Bay,
was forced to pass because of illness. “He had a fever the day before the draw,
but he’s okay now,” said Drysdale.