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Breeders' Cup 2017

Clearly Now Will Turn Back for Swale

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Clearly Now finished a distant third behind Itsmyluckyday and Shanghai Bobby as a 42-to-1 longshot in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes (G3) going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26 for trainer Brian Lynch, but will turn back in distance for his second start of the season to run in next Saturday’s $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs.

“He ran all right in the Holy Bull,” said Lynch Friday afternoon after saddling Original Cast to win the sixth race. “I just don’t think he’s ready for the horses he has to face down here right now going two turns, but the race in the Holy Bull is ideal to set him up to come back at seven-eighths. I still think he’ll stretch out with maturity when we get back to Toronto.”

A Kentucky-bred by Horse Greeley, Clearly Now made three starts at Woodbine in Canada last year, winning the first two sprinting in September and November before a third-place effort in the $150,000 Display Stakes on Dec. 1 after setting the pace to mid-stretch of that 1 1/16 miles test.

Merit Man Will Get a Look at Swale Stakes

Bruce Chandler and partners’ 3-year-old Merit Man won $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at six furlongs virtually wire-to-wire at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day for trainer Bob Hess, Jr., and came back to finish fourth in the $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes (G2) at seven furlongs on Feb. 2, beaten 2 ¾ lengths for it all by Honorable Dillon.

“It was a disappointing race, but not terrible,” said Hess. “I probably over-instructed the jockey (Paco Lopez) trying to see if he could be rated. I think he’s best if you just let him run his race. We’ll enter in the Swale and take a look, see who is in it and what post we draw. If we don’t like it we can run him in the OBS race the next week.”

Merit Man is a Florida-bred son of With Distinction purchased for $75,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sales and made all three of his starts as a 2-year-old in California. After a winning debut at Del Mar in early September he won the Tim Conway Stakes by 5 ½ lengths at Santa Anita in early October before losing a nose decision to longshot Hightail in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Merit Man raced in third and fourth early in the Hutcheson and finished evenly. The $150,000 Swale Stakes (G2) will be run here next Saturday and the $50,000 OBS Sprint at six furlongs will be run at the Ocala Training Center on Mon., Mar. 11.

Hess also was disappointed with the last race of another stable star when Schroeder Farm LLC and partners’ 5-year-old Irish-bred mare Kadaya, who won a pair of allowance races in her first starts in the U.S. here in December and January. She came back to finish non-threatening fifth as the 2-to-1 second choice in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) going 1 3/8 miles last Saturday, beaten 13 lengths by favorite Starformer.

“She had a legitimate excuse,” said Hess. “She suffered from the ‘thumps’ and was never in it. She’ll be okay and we’ll still consider the race at the end of the meet,” referring to the $150,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) to be run at 1 ½ miles on turf on Florida Derby Day., Sat., Mar. 30.

The ‘thumps’ are the result of an electrolyte imbalance in a horse’s body caused by heat and/or dehydration with a number of solutions to prevent a recurrence. The ‘thumps’ affect heart rate and breathing.

A daughter of Selkirk, Kadaya won one of five starts with three seconds in as many starts at French provincial tracks in 2011 for breeder The Aga Khan and was purchased by her current connections thereafter at auction in France.



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