Iotapa headlines Clement Hirsch

Iotapa headlines Clement Hirsch
Photo: Benoit Photo
This year’s running of the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes might as well be renamed the Grade 1 John and Jerry Show Stakes for this year only. Trainers John Sadler and Jerry Hollendorfer send out 6 of the 7 entries, saddling three runners apiece. Contested at 1 1/16 mile on Del Mar’s main, all weather track, the Hirsch is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Since the inception of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, 4 filles/mares have completed the Hirsch-Distaff double: Zenyatta in 2008, Azeri in 2002, Bayakoa in 1990 and Princess Rooney in 1984. In 2009, Zenyatta took the feat a step further, accomplishing a Hirsch-Breeders’ Cup Classic double.
Seven fillies and mares were entered in this year’s renewal of the historic race, and of the 7 entered, 6 are previous graded stakes winner with one having the distinction of being a grade 1 winner. The group is fairly evenly matched, and the imposts only vary by 4 pounds from lowest to highest. From the rail out, here is the field for the Hirsch:
Fiftyshadesofhay—As a three-year old, Fiftyshadesofhay was a force to be reckoned with. She appears to have lost a step in her four-year old season, however, recording just 1 win and 1 show from 4 starts. Her preferred surface is dirt, but she does own a win and a place on the all weather surface from 3 starts. Fiftyshadesofhay certainly can’t be dismissed, but she’s not my top pick.
Iotapa—Absolutely demolished the Grade 1 Vanity field in her last start. She went straight to the lead and was never contested, drawing away to win by 10 lengths. She’s never been out of the exacta on artificial surfaces and appears to have rounded back into peak form after a dismal performance in the G1 Humana Distaff. Her Del Mar works have looked solid, and she enters this spot looking mighty formidable despite carrying high weight of 123 lbs.
Broken Sword—Enters off a six month layoff. She won the G2 Bayakoa in frontrunning fashion to close out her 2013 campaign but went to the sidelines after finishing off the board in her 2014 debut. She won’t get an easy lead in this spot and may need the race to get back into tip top shape.
Doinghardtimeagain—When she’s hot, she’s hot; when she’s not, she’s not. The two layoffs since August are concerning, but she did come back to win a Grade 2 event at Laurel in July. From that spot, she’ll be stretching out from a sprint to a middle distance race, and I expect Hollendorfer will have her ready to run.
More Chocolate—Makes her 2014 debut after a 9 month layoff. She hasn’t won a race since January 2013 but finished a solid 2nd in this very race last year. This seems like a tall order for the mare after being sidelined for so long.
Parranda—Has strictly been a turf runner for the her career and makes her first start over synthetics here. Generally speaking, turf runners do well on synthetics, and after the issues Del Mar has had with their new course this meet, sending Parranda in a synthetics race rather than a turf one looks like a smart move on Jerry Hollendorfer’s part. She’s looked really good so far this year, and if the pace gets contentious up front, she’ll come running late.
Legacy—Takes a huge step up in class off a listed stake win at Laurel. Her only prior start on synthetics resulted in a 5th place finish. In all honesty, I think this is too ambitious of a spot for her, but Sadler must have seen something in this Sightseeing filly to place her in such tough company.
Broken Sword is going to want the early lead, but she likely will not get away with an easy lead. Iotapa went to the lead last out, and with the way speed has been holding up [five track records have been set so far during this meet, including the record for 5 furlongs being broken then re-broken in one day], the jockeys are going to want their mounts up close early. Five fillies utilize on or near the pace styles, but More Chocolate and Parranda will be content to press the pace from behind that front flight of five.
Selections: Iotapa, Fiftyshadesofhay and Parranda 

Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, which led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.

Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation covering racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues and, from time to time, offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry. A move North to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the From Coast to Coast blog for HRN. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.

An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband, Chris, and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racings stars, equine and human alike.

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