Miz Ida Sentimental Choice in Cardinal

November 08, 2013 05:37am
For those close to Cardinal Handicap (GIII) contender Miz Ida, it will be an emotional moment when she strides into the starting gate under Shaun Bridgmohan on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The most recent victory by Miz Ida in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) marked the last trip to Churchill Downs and the final visit to the winner’s circle for the late Elaine Klein, one of the grand women of Kentucky racing and the matriarch of the Louisville-based Klein family stable with her son, Richard, and husband Bert, her partner of 60 years.

The filly already held a special position in the stable because Elaine Klein had named Miz Ida after Ida Schulz, one of her closest friends and a survivor of the Holocaust.

Elaine Klein lost an extended battle with cancer in late July at the age of 80, and it’s a sure bet that Mrs. Klein’s joy in the Mint Julep winner’s circle will be on the minds of those who knew and loved her when Miz Ida takes on nine accomplished rivals in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile test on the Matt Winn Turf Course.

“This horse is special, and I believe the woman she’s named after, Ida Schulz, is having some health issues, too,” said trainer Steve Margolis. “A win by Miz Ida would be a great pick-me-up for her and everyone around the horse. The filly’s been such a great horse for us so far and she always gives it her all. We’re very much looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”

Miz Ida has not won in three races since the June 13 Mint Julep, but she has run well. She was a close second to Cardinal rival Somali Lemonade in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap (GIII) at Parx in early July and fourth on a yielding Keeneland turf course to Better Lucky in the Grade I First Lady last time out. Between those outings she finished sixth in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa (GII), a race won by eventual Breedes’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI) contender Laughing.

Bridgmohan, who has been aboard Miz Ida in a dozen consecutive races, will return to the saddle in the Cardinal.  Margolis’ filly brings a record of 15-7-2-0 and earnings of $453,985 into the race and will break from post five.

Miz Ida was rated as the Cardinal’s 7-2 co-second choice with the Michael Matz-trained Somali Lemonde in oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds. Calumet Farm’s Starstruck, winner of Monmouth Park’s Matchmaker (GIII) for trainer Larry Jones, is the pre-race favorite at 3-1 in a competitive race that also features Solid Appeal (4-1), winner of the Dance Smartly (GII) and Nassau (GII) for trainer Reade Baker at Woodbine, and Phipps Stable’s Abaco (5-1), runner-up to Pianist in the Athenia (GIII) at Belmont Park for trainer Shug McGaughey.

“She’s doing excellent,” Margolis said of Miz Ida. “Shaun loves the way she’s coming into the race. I think a mile-and-an-eighth is good for us. We’ve got some speed in the race and hopefully we get a good trip. I think it’s a real good spot to finish out the year for us.”     


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