Race of the Week 2017

Owners Seek Another Alabama With Inglorious

The last time owners Vern and Donna Dubinsky and trainer Josie Caroll brought a filly to the TVG Alabama, she was the “other” Canadian in the race.


That year, their Careless Jewel – based at Woodbine and a runaway winner of the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks in her first start on dirt and in a stakes race – was somewhat overshadowed by the Ontario-bred Milwaukee Appeal, who had run only in Canada and won the Woodbine Oaks before running third against boys in the Queen’s  Plate, the first jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown.


While Milwaukee Appeal enjoyed favoritism on TVG Alabama Day, the race belonged to Careless Jewel, the speedy gray who posted an 11-length victory despite being steadied sharply on the first turn.


This year, the Dubinskys have the Ontario-bred Inglorious, a bay filly with a resume that designates her a serious contender in Saturday’s Grade 1 TVG Alabama. Circumstances may be different, but the Dubinskys are hoping for the same result.


An $83,556 yearling purchase at the 2009 Canadian Yearling Sale, the daughter of Hennessy has competed exclusively in stakes, breaking her maiden against fellow Ontario-breds in the Fanfreluche over Woodbine’s Polytrack on October 24, 2010.


“She was a nice-looking horse,” recalled Vern Dubinsky of the purchase. “And she’s by Hennessy, who is the broodmare sire of Careless Jewel, which had a little bit to do with it. When she was being broken, they felt she was one of the better horses in the barn, so we thought she might be OK. When Josie got her, she was training forwardly and she wanted to put her in a stake. I was a little surprised – you never know what you’ve got and we thought she was a little better than average, anyway – but she showed she could run and we’ve just gone on from there.”


Inglorious, who is out of the Smart Strike mare Noble Strike, again trounced Ontario-breds in the Ontario Lassie before venturing to the United States to try dirt in the Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course on February 19. She was beaten 1 ¼ lengths in that race by Kathmanblu, who was making the eighth start of her career. Fourth in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks the following month, Inglorious’ connections began to revise her schedule.

“She didn’t come out of her last race at Fair Grounds as good as we hoped,” Dubinsky explained. “We thought we’d just give her some time and let her grow up a little. In hindsight, I think it was the right thing to do. I know she’s a better horse than she was this winter.”

Bypassing the Kentucky Oaks, Inglorious returned to Woodbine and racked up three straight victories: the 1 1/8-mile La Lorgnette on May 15, the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 5, and the 1 ¼-mile Queen’s  Plate on June 26.

“We’d always had the Woodbine Oaks and and the Queen’s  Plate in back of our mind,” Dubinsky said. “We wanted to make sure she was 100 percent coming out of [the Woodbine Oaks], but fillies have kind of done fairly well [in the Queen’s  Plate], and we thought it was worth a rattle, so we took a chance.”

The late-running Inglorious closed four wide on the turn to win the Queen’s  Plate by 2 ½ lengths under Luis Contreras, a 25-year-old rider who would go on to win the next two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown aboard Pender Harbour.

“Winning the Queen’s  Plate was unbelievable,” said Dubinsky. “It’s kind of comparable for an American – for anyone – to win the Kentucky Derby and for us, at home, it was a huge accomplishment.”

Following the Queen’s  Plate, Inglorious’ connections began pondering a return to Saratoga for the Alabama, a race Dubinsky holds in the highest regard.

“It’s the best race in North America for 3-year-old fillies,” Dubinsky said. “It’s the classic distance, it’s in Saratoga, and the fillies are mature 3-year-olds already. It’s like the difference between the Kentucky Derby and the Travers – the earlier races are great races, but some horses develop a little later and all of them are more experienced.

“We were thrilled to win it the first time, and we’re thrilled now just to be in it. We were just hoping to have a horse good enough to get there again, and we wanted to make sure we had a fresh horse, and a good horse, to get there again. I don’t think she could be coming into race any better than she is now. We’re pretty pleased.”

Inglorious is the only filly in the field who is proven at the Alabama distance, but Dubinsky has tremendous respect for her five rivals.

“This might be a small field, but I think the quality is as good as ever,” said Dubinsky. “She’s shown she can get a mile and a quarter. We’re hoping she is [going to handle the return to dirt]. You never know. I also think we have a really good rider, our young rider. He knows her so well and rides her with so much confidence; I think she’s got a good chance.”

While Inglorious inevitably invites comparison to Careless Jewel, Dubinsky is quick to point out their differences.

“Inglorious is a true professional,” said Dubinsky. “With Careless, you never knew. She’d get a little goofy on us, but this filly just walks over like a pony and does her thing. She’s just unbelievable that way, she has such a good temperament. She’s a different kind of horse, that’s for sure.”

Perhaps the kind of horse that could bring the Dubinskys, and Carroll, to the winner’s circle at Saratoga once again.


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