Filly and Mare Turf -Thursday Notes

December 11, 2015

Abaco – Phipps Stable’s Abaco galloped 1 1/4m and schooled in the paddock Thursday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for a start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The 6yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway is enjoying her most productive racing season in 2014.

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“I think it’s just the maturity factor. She’s learned to run and we started learning how she wanted to run,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “She finally kind of grew into herself. It took her a while to break her maiden, but when she did she won four in a row.”

Abaco broke her maiden in her ninth career start.

Dank – see European report

Dayatthespa/Stephanie’s Kitten – Stephanie’s Kitten and Dayatthespa will be trainer Chad Brown’s fifth and sixth career starters in the race. He has one win - Zagora in 2012 - and was third with Alterite last year.

This year’s runners, who both galloped about 1 1/2m Thursday morning, have contrasting running styles. Stephanie’s Kitten comes from off the pace, while Dayatthespa’s game is speed.

Dayatthespa has been a dependable turf runner for Brown for four successful seasons, during which she has 10 victories and four seconds in 17 starts. The key move was for Brown to recognize that she preferred grass and they haven’t wasted a start on another surface.

“When I had her as a 2-year-old we were working her on the dirt and she was just OK,” Brown said. “Then I breezed her on the turf one day with one of the partners there, Steve Laymon. I turned to him and said, “that filly will win a million dollars if she stays sound.” And she did.

“That was just off one breeze. That’s how talented she is. Just the first time I put her on the turf she breezed remarkable. When you see a work like that with a young horse you can tell.”

Dayatthespa, who will go through the auction ring next week, has earned $1.18 million.

Emollient – The good news for trainer Bill Mott and Juddmonte Farms is that the Breeders’ Cup is being held at Santa Anita, a venue that Emollient seems to relish. The finicky 4yo daughter of Empire Maker won the Rodeo Drive over the course on Sept. 27 and was second by a nose in the Gamely on May 26. In between, she was not a factor in the Diana and the Beverly D. Last year, she was a close fourth, beaten one length, in the Filly & Mare Turf.

“She’s good when she wants to be good,” Mott said. “She’s temperamental about the surface that she runs over and maybe the type of trip she gets. She’s not an easy filly. She’s very talented and she’s a multiple Grade I winner, but the ground has to be right for her and the trip has to work out well for her.”

While stablemate Close Hatches, one of the favorites in the Distaff is consistent, Emollient is a challenge.

“She’s fussier about the starting gate,” Mott said. “She’s an Empire Maker, which gives her that. Sometimes they’re more peculiar about certain things.”

Fiesolana – see European report

Irish Mission – Robert S. Evans’ Irish Mission heads into the race in the finest form of her 26 race career, but the hard-hitting 5yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway figures to need a little luck of the Irish to pull off the upset.

“She doesn’t have a great turn of foot,” said Christophe Lorieul, the top assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, who is expected to arrive on Friday to tighten the final screws on the mare’s preparation. “It would be ideal for her to be in a stalking position and we want her to be fairly close to the pace. But she stays.”

Installed in the morning line at 20-1 as one of the three co-longest shots in the field of 11, Irish Mission will be partnered with Joel Rosario for the first time.

On Thursday morning, she was sent for an easy 1m gallop out as part of Clement’s first set and Lorieul reported that she looked particularly good. Her stable mates Tonalist, who is also owned by Evans, will compete in the Classic and Summer Front tries the Mile.

Just The Judge – see European report

Parranda – Gilbert Campbell, D. Clark, Gatto Racing LLC, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, Greg Skoda and Kathy Justice (Lessee)’s Parranda galloped 1 1/2m Thursday morning under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez.

Parranda, who joined the Hollendorfer barn this spring by private purchase after beginning her career in Florida, had been pre-entered in the Distaff as well as the Filly & Mare Turf with Hollendorfer opting for the latter spot.

“She was proven on the grass which is why we went in that race,” the Hall of Fame trainer said of the 5yo mare who has delivered two Graded stakes wins on the turf while under his care. Rusty Slipper – Graham Motion-trained Rusty Slipper galloped 1 5/8m at Santa Anita Thursday morning.

Secret Gesture – see European report

Travers Stakes at Saratoga

Early look at the 150th running of the $1,250,000 Travers Stakes which will be held on Saturday, August 24 at Saratoga Race Course.

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