Filly & Mare Turf - Wed. notes

December 10, 2019

Abaco – Phipps Stable’s Abaco galloped 1m at Santa Anita Wednesday morning in preparation for a start in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which is likely to be the final start of the 6yo mare’s career.

The stretch-running Abaco, though, has shown no signs of tailing off.

“She’s been very consistent this year,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “She’s had chances in three or four big races to win, but the trip got her beat. She did great to win the Ballston Spa, and she seems to be doing very well.”

Abaco is seeking her first Grade I win in her career, although she’s come close three times this year.

“She’s going to drop out of it, so you’re going to need the trip. In the Flower Bowl, she was inside the winner and he held us in. In the Grade I at Keeneland, she was kind of carried out. In the Diana, it was pretty much the same thing,” McGaughey said of Abaco’s runner-up finish in the Flower Bowl, late-charging third in the Jenny Wiley, and close fourth in the Diana.

Dank – see European report

Dayatthespa/Stephanie’s Kitten – Trainer Chad Brown’s Filly & Mare Turf runners galloped about 1 1/2m Wednesday morning.

Both of the 5yo mares are returning to the Breeders’ Cup since they ran in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2011. Stephanie’s Kitten won the race (when trained by Wayne Catalano) and Dayatthespa was ninth of 14, which was the worst finish of her career.

“She’s (Dayatthespa) a very consistent horse,” Brown said. “For a trainer to have a horse as dependable as her, when you need a win she steps up and gives it to you.

“She’s just meant so much to me and my whole staff. She’s really a barn favorite. She’s scheduled to be sold days after the Breeders’ Cup. It will be sad to see her go, but she’s earned it and can go on to the next stage of her life.”

Dayatthespa’s win before the First Lady was in a New York-bred stake at Saratoga, but Brown said a victory in the Filly & Mare Turf could make her a contender for the division title.

“That would be her second Grade I and it depends on what other horses do in the race,” he said. “She’s very dangerous. She’s got speed and she can carry it. She’s in career form right now.”

Emollient – Juddmonte Farms’ 4yo Empire Maker filly Emollient galloped 1 1/4m and stood in the gate for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott Wednesday morning.

She snapped a six-race losing streak and picked up her first victory of 2014 in the Rodeo Drive, the local prep for the Filly & Mare Turf. Wearing blinkers for the first time in her 17-race career, she rallied from off the pace under Rosie Napravnik, who will be aboard Saturday.

Fiesolana – see European report

Irish Mission – Irish Mission, who was bred in Canada by the famed Sam-Son Farm and was raced primarily at Woodbine Race Course, was transferred to trainer Christophe Clement in May and the arrangement has proved mutually beneficial.

The 5yo daughter of Giant’s Causeway became a Graded stakes winner at Saratoga in August and her last effort in the Rodeo Drive on Santa Anita’s course and at the same 1 ¼ miles distance was impressive. She finished willingly from far back after being steadied and demonstrated her grit and closing kick while crossing under the wire behind Emollient and Parranda and dead-heating for third with Rusty Slipper.

Irish Mission gets another crack at all three in the Filly & Mare Turf on Saturday and the hard-hitter has shown up every time Clement has tightened the girth on her.

“Right now, she is the best she has ever been,” said Christophe Lorieul, Clement’s top assistant. “She is a big, good-looking mare and she has been training hard every day. She can be too hard on herself, so it is up to us to keep her this good right up to her race.”

Millionaire Irish Mission, who handles firm footing particularly well, arrived from New York with stable mates Tonalist, who runs in the Classic, and Summer Front, a contender in the Mile, on Tuesday evening after an uneventful trip. On Wednesday morning she jogged once around the track with exercise rider Lee Vickers and visited the paddock.

Clement will be on hand Friday morning and owner Robert S. Evans, who also owns Tonalist, will be here to watch her carry his colors on race day. Joel Rosario, who rides Tonalist, will be partnered with her for the first time.

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 jogged a little after 8 o’clock Wednesday morning under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez.

Elvis Trujillo, who had ridden the 5yo mare in Florida before he relocated to Southern California six months ago, has ridden Parranda in her past four starts and will have the mount Saturday.

“She is a good girl; an easy horse to ride,” Trujillo said. “She is so versatile, you can put her anywhere. If she needs to be on the lead, she can be; if not, she can close.”

When Parranda shipped to South Florida last fall from Monmouth, Trujillo had the mount.

“Then I broke my collarbone in October and lost the mount for a while,” Trujillo said. “After I rode her in the spring, I went by the barn and asked ‘Where’s Parranda?’ They told me she had come to California and I was very happy to pick her up again three months later.”

Rusty Slipper – Zanim R. Meahjohn’s Rusty Slipper galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.

The 4yo filly is coming off a third-place finish in the Rodeo Drive over the Santa Anita turf course and has remained on the grounds since the Sept. 27 stakes.

“I don’t know if that plays into it, but certainly she proved that she’s not far behind these horses that day,” trainer Graham Motion said. “It was a Grade I, but Saturday it’s a whole different field. For her, it’s going to be a huge step.”

Prior to the Rodeo Drive, Rusty Slipper earned her first Graded-stakes win in the Violet Stakes at Monmouth on Aug. 23.

Secret Gesture – see European report

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