Barn Tour: D'Amato provides the latest on 7 stakes horses

Barn Tour: D'Amato provides the latest on 7 stakes horses
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Trainer Phil D’Amato has won at a 20 percent clip this season and is on the cusp of his most lucrative season yet having banked $7,392,860, which ranks 14th nationally. D’Amato will be well-represented when the Santa Anita winter-spring meet kicks off a week from Sunday with six graded stakes, including a trio of Grade 1s. On Thursday, the 45-year-old conditioner spoke with Horse Racing Nation for the latest on some of his stable stars.
Going Global. The 3-year-old Irish-bred has been a star in California this season having won 6-of-7 starts, all in stakes, including the Del Mar Oaks (G1) and the Goldikova (G2) against older horses in her two most recent efforts. She is slated to go for another Grade 1 score in the $300,000 American Oaks on opening day at Santa Anita. “I have just loved her progression throughout the year,” D’Amato said of the daughter of Mehmas. “At no point in time have I seen her plateau at all. She just keeps getting better and better. And that last race, she took a major step showing she could beat older horses as well.” Like many of the sophomore fillies slated to contest the American Oaks, it will be Going Global’s first time going 10 furlongs. D’Amato does not see the added distance as a problem. “She’s won multiple times going a mile and an eighth and the way she finishes, I don’t see the mile and a quarter being an issue.” D’Amato also pointed out the American Oaks starts on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course.
“So really it probably plays more like a mile and three-sixteenths than a true mile and a quarter." Say the Word. He added a second Grade 2 win of the year when taking the Nov. 26 Hollywood Turf Cup (G2) over stablemate Acclimate at Del Mar. The 6-year-old gelding, who returned to the work tab last Saturday, also won the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland in the spring and was second in the Shoemaker Mile (G1). D’Amato said the $225,000 San Marcos (G2) on Jan. 30 at Santa Anita would likely be next for the son of More Than Ready. “From there if all goes well, we’ll decide whether to keep campaigning him in the U.S. or maybe take a stab and send him to Dubai or something like that,” D’Amato said. “He’s doing really well.” Acclimate.
The 7-year-old gelding has hit the board in eight of 10 starts this year, which includes a win in the San Juan Capistrano (G3). In the Hollywood Turf Cup, he led the field all the way around before getting nailed by Say the Word in the shadow of the wire. “He’s just one of those horses, I think he’s in the zone right now,” D’Amato said. “He’s just really happy. I think we’ll either run him in a stakes on Cal Cup day in the middle of January (Jan. 15) or wait for the San Marcos at the end of January.” By Acclimation, Acclimate has a career mark of 29: 7-6-5 and banked $683,872 in four seasons of racing. Miss Bigly. The 5-year-old mare has spent most of her time in the Midwest for D’Amato and is currently at Oaklawn Park following consecutive third-place finishes in the Zenyatta Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita and the Nov. 20 Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs most recently.

“She’ll stay with my string at Oaklawn Park and campaign there, then we’ll see what we do after that,” D’Amato said. “But this will probably be her last year campaigning for us and then we’ll probably sell her as a broodmare prospect at the Keeneland November sale.” By Gemologist, Miss Bigly has a record of 24: 7-3-8 with earnings of $461,242 for owners Agave Racing Stable and Rockin Robin Racing Stables. 2-year-old fillies Ain’t Easy.  A perfect 2-for-2 including a win in the Chandelier (G2), she was slated to contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies but was withdrawn the Monday before the race after a poor morning training. Ain’t Easy was given a brief freshening and recently returned to D’Amato’s barn at Santa Anita. D’Amato said the daughter of Into Mischief would likely be ready to race at the end of February or early March. She will try and earn her way into the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May. Desert Dawn. Following a third in the Chandelier, she was ambitiously spotted in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and was never a factor when last of six. Back in the Dec. 4 Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos, the daughter of Cupid again failed to threaten when checking in fourth.

“She’s going to have a little three-week freshener and we’ll go from there,” D’Amato said, adding Desert Dawn would also take a shot on the Kentucky Oaks trail upon her return. Elm Drive.  After winning her first two career starts this summer, including the Sorrento (G2) at Del Mar, she was eased in the Del Mar Debutante (G2) and then finished last in the Chandelier.

D’Amato said the daughter of Mohaymen is getting a freshening and would focus on one-turn stakes races upon her return, which is scheduled for sometime in late February or early March.

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