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Treat Gently Works for Turf Cup

Hollywood Park logo.
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 on Monday.


“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 eating good.”


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 in May.


“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 Saturday.


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.

 

 

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