Clément makes 2022 plans for his 1st Breeders’ Cup winner

Clément makes 2022 plans for his 1st Breeders’ Cup winner
Photo: John Voorhees/Eclipse Sportswire

Trainer Christophe Clément said Breeders’ Cup winner Pizza Bianca will be freshened with an eye toward the New York Racing Association’s filly division of the Turf Triple series, which kicks off next summer with the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational.

“It was very nice,” Clément said of the Breeders’ Cup victory. “She’s having a break at the moment, and we’ll bring her back next year. She could be one that will eventually be a candidate for the Turf Triple series.”

Clément returned to his primary thoroughbred division at Belmont Park this week in victorious fashion, having ended a winless streak in the Breeders’ Cup when Pizza Bianca captured the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Owned and bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, Pizza Bianca arrived at the Del Mar off a good second in the Natalma (G1) on Sept. 19 at Woodbine.

The daughter of Fastnet Rock, expertly piloted by José Ortiz in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, found a seam in between horses in upper stretch and collared European invader Cachet in the final furlong to win by a neck over late-rallying Malavath.

The following day Clément saddled Otter Band Stables’ Gufo to a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, which was won by Jockey Club Derby Invitational winner Yibir.

The effort was a first off-the-board finish for the 4-year-old Declaration of War chestnut, who captured the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1) in August at Saratoga.

Clément mentioned the possibility of shipping Gufo to the Middle East, targeting races like the Neom Turf Cup at King Abdulaziz Racecourse in Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

“He’s at Payson Park having a break at the moment,” Clément said. “There are races in Saudi and Dubai or the Man O’ War (G1 at Belmont Park). They’re all great choices.”

Clément said Gufo, who was headstrong in his third-place finish in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) last month at Belmont, could remove blinkers for his next start.

“The main question is whether or not we keep the blinkers on him,” Clément said. “He was a bit aggressive in the middle of the race here and I thought about taking the blinkers off for the Breeders’ Cup. Because the Breeders’ Cup was in California, I felt that I would be better off to have him a touch more on the bridle than off the bridle. If the Breeders’ Cup were elsewhere with a more kinder turf course I would probably have taken them off. We’ll just have to think about it.”

Gufo brags a consistent record of 14: 7-2-4 with earnings in excess of $1.2 million. In addition to the Sword Dancer, Gufo also captured the Grade 1 Belmont Derby Invitational last year as well as three other stakes races.

On Sunday morning Al Shira’aa Farms’ Mutamakina breezed an easy half-mile in 52.22 seconds over the Belmont inner turf in preparation for the Long Island (G3) on Nov. 27 at Aqueduct.

The 5-year-old Nathaniel mare defeated stablemate La Dragontea last out in the E. P. Taylor (G1) at Woodbine following a triumph in the Dance Smarty (G2) on Aug. 22 at the Toronto oval.

“She had a nice work. She’ll work once more next week,” Clément said.
Clément said La Dragontea, winner of the Canadian (G2) on Sept. 18 at Woodbine, and graded stakes-placed Sorrel are also possible candidates for the 12-furlong stamina test.

“Mutamakina for sure will run. The other two, we’ll see how they train next week and go from there,” Clément said.

Sorrel, an Augustin Stable and James Wigan homebred, was last seen finishing third in her North American debut to War Like Goddess in the Orchid (G3) in March at Gulfstream Park. The daughter of Dansili went a half-mile in 52.34 seconds over the Belmont inner turf Sunday morning.

“If the ground is on the firmer side, I’ll run her in the Long Island. If it’s too soft, I don’t think I will,” Clément said.

Manzanita Stables’ Tap the Faith, who broke her maiden at first asking on Sunday going a one-turn mile at Belmont, is a possible candidate for the Demoiselle (G2) on Dec. 4 at Aqueduct.

“Today was her first day back galloping and she looks great,” Clément said. “We’ll work her next weekend and decide what to do with her. I really like the filly, and if she’s training great and doing great, we’ll go for it.”

By Tapit, Tap the Faith is out of Grade 1 winner Embellish the Lace.

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