Pomeroys Pistol Faces Older Rivals in Gallant Bloom

Pomeroys Pistol second in two consecutive Grade 1 races against 3-year-old fillies, will take on older fillies and mares for the first time in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.


After winning the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park in January, Pomeroys Pistol was third in that venue’s Grade 2 Davona Dale in February and sixth in Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Eight Belles in May. She has finished in the exacta in her three most recent starts, having won the Just Smashing in June at Parx Racing and finishing second in July’s Prioress at Belmont and August’s Test at Saratoga Race Course.


Amy Tarrant, who owns and trainers Pomeroys Pistol, believes there is no time like the present to have the sophomore, whose long-range objective is November’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, make her first start against her elders.


“She’s going to the Breeders’ Cup, so we might as well find out [if she can handle fillies and mares] now instead of later,” said Tarrant of Pomeroys Pistol, who has been training at Monmouth Park. “I think she’ll be fine. This race gives us seven weeks from the Test and six weeks to recuperate leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. Obviously, she’ll have to come out of this race well.”


Pomeroys Pistol, tabbed as the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, will carry 115 pounds from post position 6 in the field of seven. Javier Castellano will ride.


The Foxwoods Gallant Bloom attracted Tar Heel Mom and Tamarind Hall, the second- and third-place finishers in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Ballerina. In the August 27 race, Hilda’s Passion got loose on the lead and ran away to a 9 ½-length score, with Tar Heel Mom finishing a neck ahead of Tamarind Hall.


Tar Heel Mom is seeking her fourth graded stakes victory, having already captured the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap in 2010 and the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl and Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap in 2011. The Honorable Miss, held at Saratoga, was her final start prior to her runner-up performance in the Ballerina.


Owned by Alex Rankin, Tar Heel Mom has 11 wins from 29 starts and earnings of $828,392. She was made the 2-1 morning-line favorite and 120-pound highweight for the Foxwoods Gallant Bloom and will leave from the rail with Alex Solis aboard.


Tamarind Hall, owned by Mark Vondrasek’s Eklektikos, won an open allowance race at Finger Lakes, her home track, by 7 ¾ lengths in June before making a successful raid upon Belmont Park, taking the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses Handicap by 5 ¼ lengths in July. Trainer Chris Englehart said he wasn’t surprised Tamarind Hall regressed mildly in the Ballerina after she posted those two impressive efforts.


“I was pretty pleased with my filly,” said Englehart. “I was impressed with Hilda’s Passion; it was the kind of effort she could have shown [when sixth] in the Bed o’ Roses. Hilda’s Passion was an outlier in that field, and we don’t have to run against her here.

The timing between [the Bed o’ Roses and Ballerina] may have hurt her as she was coming off tough races, but we had no excuses after the race.”


Englehart believes the Ballerina set up Tamarind Hall well for the Foxwoods Gallant Bloom.


“The timing going into this is about perfect, about a month, and she has been sharp,” said Englehart.


Tamarind Hall, the 7-2 third choice on the morning line, will tote 118 pounds, including jockey David Cohen, from post 4.


Barry K. Schwartz’s Lovely Lil will step out of her comfort zone in the Foxwoods Gallant Bloom, in which she was seventh a year ago. Following last year’s race, she made three starts against New York-breds, finishing fifth last November in Belmont’s Iroquois, her 2010 finale; setting the pace to win a optional claimer by a neck on July 27 at Saratoga, and rallying three-wide to prevail by a measured 1 ¾ lengths in the Spa’s Union Avenue on August 22.


Trainer Mike Hushion sees Lovely Lil’s return to open company as an opportunity, not as a challenge.


“We’ve always thought she was better than just a New York-bred stakes filly,” said Hushion of Lovely Lil. “This seems like a nice spot for her. Her last race was a nice, conservative race; she wasn’t all out.”

Ramon Dominguez has the return assignment aboard Lovely Lil, who was assigned 114 pounds and will leave from post 5 at 12-1 on the morning line.


The field also includes Buckleupbuttercup, winner of an August 19 optional claimer at Saratoga, and Moontune Missy and Katy Now, second and third in the restricted Lady Tak on August 31 at the Spa.


The field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Foxwoods Gallant Bloom Handicap:








Tar Heel Mom (KY)

A O Solis


S M Hough



Moontune Missy (KY)

R Maragh


E G Harty



Buckleupbuttercup (KY)

C H Velasquez


E Kenneally



Tamarind Hall (FL)

D Cohen


J C Englehart



Lovely Lil (NY)

R A Dominguez


M E Hushion



Pomeroys Pistol (FL)

J Castellano


A Tarrant



Katy Now (KY)

C S Nakatani


T A Pletcher





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