Grade 2 winner Liora returns to training with 'a lot of potential'

December 03, 2019 12:35pm

Liora, a Grade 2-winning filly who finished second most recently in the Kentucky Oaks, has returned to trainer Wayne Catalano’s shedrow.

Catalano said this week that the daughter of Candy Ride received “a clean bill of health” from Dr. Larry Bramlage, who last May performed surgery on her right-hind leg. Liora has since resumed jogging at Churchill Downs and will this winter join Catalano’s string at Fair Grounds.

“We’re excited to get her back,” the trainer said. “She has a lot of potential. As we go, we’ll see what our plans are, but for right now we just want to get her going.”

The Coffeepot Stables runner went from a maiden win to taking Churchill Downs’ Golden Rod Stakes (G2) this time last year. As a 3-year-old at Fair Grounds, she then earned a pair of placings in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) to qualify for the Kentucky Oaks.

Liora hit the wire 1 3/4 lengths behind front-running Serengeti Empress on the first Friday in May, after which Catalano put her under consideration for a rematch in Belmont’s Acorn Stakes (G1). The injury occurred during a gallop toward that spot.

Coming back from it, “I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Catalano said. “One, it went back together pretty good. Two, it’s a back leg. And three, she’s a young filly. If she’s got it, she’ll still have it.”

Catalano anticipates Liora resurfacing in the entires at Fair Grounds or Oaklawn Park, which offers lucrative races for older fillies and mares into the spring, including the Apple Blossom Handicap (G1).

Another of Catalano’s stakes runners, Manny Wah, has a more pressing assignment. The 3-year-old son of Will Take Charge could head west for Santa Anita Park’s Malibu Stakes (G1) off a runner-up in the Nov. 25 Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley.

Manny Wah surged between horses late to come up a neck short of the winner, Dugout, in the six-furlong event.

“He was unlucky not to win there,” Catalano said. “He ran a great race.”

The seven-furlong Malibu is expected to feature, among others, the popular Omaha Beach. It’s the final Grade 1 race of the season for 3-year-old males in their age group and would mark the first time at that class level for Manny Wah.

“We tried him on the Derby trail, but he’s more of a sprinter,” Catalano said.

The trainer also reported that Winter Sunset, who scratched from last Friday’s Mrs. Revere (G2) at Churchill Downs, defected due to soft ground and will be sent for a freshening before running in 2020 at age 4.


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