Breeders' Cup Notes
Nov 5, 2017
Gun Runner – A season that began with frustration ended with fulfillment for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner Saturday. The impressive winner of the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and presumed Horse of the Year-elect exited his 2 1/4-length victory in good order for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Longtime Asmussen assistant trainer Scott Blasi, who has rarely left the chestnut son of Candy Ride’s side since he first entered the barn as a 2yo, was overwhelmed with satisfaction the morning after his gate-to-wire triumph in the 1 ¼m Classic, his first victory at the distance in four attempts.
“To help develop another Horse of the Year, our fourth in a decade, is unbelievable,” he said. “He’s just a great horse. He developed at different stages than (2009 Horse of the Year) Rachel Alexandra or (2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year) Curlin, so there’s no real comparison.
“I think he needs to get all the limelight right now,” Blasi continued. “He deserves it and he’s earned it. He came out in good shape. Right now he’s going to go to Three Chimneys (Farm) for a few days to relax and we’ll bring him back in. Right now, we want to get through this and then look at the next race.”
Gun Runner will likely join Asmussen’s Fair Grounds-based string in New Orleans later this year to point to January’s $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park, a race from which he was excluded this year because of an EHV-1 outbreak at his Fair Grounds base, much to his connections’ collective chagrin.
Calling an audible, Gun Runner ran in Oaklawn’s Razorback in February and was pointed to the $10 million Dubai World Cup after a 5 3/4-length romp in Hot Springs. A valiant second to Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate in Dubai, he returned to reel off four consecutive Grade 1 victories, each more impressive than the previous. He ends 2017 with a record of 5-1-0 from six starts and $6,950,700 in earnings.
Trainer Bob Baffert (Arrogate, Collected, Mubtaahij, West Coast, Abel Tasman, Mor Spirit, Cupid, Drefong, Constellation, Alluring Star and Solomini) – Trainer Bob Baffert said all 11 of his Breeders’ Cup horses came out of their races in fine shape. The Baffert stable finished the weekend with four seconds – Collected (Classic), Solomon (Sentient Jet Juvenile), Alluring Star (14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies) and Abel Tasman (Longines Distaff) and a third – West Coast (Classic) – in the 34th Breeders’ Cup.
Baffet’s defending champs, Arrogate in the Classic and Drefong in the Sprint, were not factors in their races. Arrogate, the narrow favorite in the Classic wagering, finished in a dead heat for fifth with Gunnevera. It was his third straight loss, all at Del Mar, after speeding to the top of the racing world with three straight victories.
Drefong, starting from an inside post position, No. 2, ended up sixth, 7 3/4 lengths behind Roy H.
“It was disappointing, but the biggest disappointment was the big horse not showing up and Drefong in that post position and not breaking,” Baffert said. “My two that I really thought could win, it just didn’t go right. I didn’t get the racing luck and the big horse didn’t show up for some reason. I thought he would show up. I’m not blaming the track or anything. I think it was mental.”
Arrogate was scheduled to be retired after the Classic. He will be shipped to Juddmonte Farms in Kentucky Monday and will begin stud duties in 2018.
Runner-up Collected, owned by Speedway Stable, will remain in training and Baffert said he is a candidate for the $16 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park. Gary and Mary West’s 3yo West Coast finished third in the Classic and is definitely headed to the Pegasus. Eighth-place finisher Mubtaahij, owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum, will stay in training as well with Baffert.
Baffert said Arrogate was sound and fine, but turned in a flat performance.
“He just went through the motions. At the end he started taking off a little bit. Today in the stall he’s all amped up. He broke flat-footed and then he got into it, but not at anytime did I ever think (he would challenge Gun Runner). He was just in that long stride and just coming
around there. He didn’t have that fire that he usually has.”
Arrogate last raced in the Pacific Classic in August at Del Mar, finishing a closing second to Collected. Baffert said he was encouraged the try the Classic by the way the 4yo colt trained at his home base at Santa Anita.
“I was worried about bringing him back here,” Baffert said. “At Santa Anita I thought he was working well enough to do it. He’s sound. He’s healthy. It’s got to be mental with him right now.”
Collected was a pace presser throughout and ended up 2 1/4 lengths behind Gun Runner.
“He got a little tired there at the end, but he was going toe to toe with that horse pretty well,” Baffert said. “For an instant there I thought maybe he was going to put him away, but Gun Runner was just too tough. The great horse that he is, he just fended him off.”
West Coast rose to prominence winning the Travers and the Pennsylvania Derby on the lead. He was third throughout most of the race and didn’t make up ground in the stretch when the pace slowed.
“West Coast, I thought he would be coming late,” Baffert said. “I think he wanted to be a closer, too. I didn’t really want to have all of them too close there.”
Drefong is owned by Charles Chu’s Baoma Corp. Baffert said a decision on the 4yo colt’s future will be made in the next week or two.
Zagat Stable’s Solomini is making progress, Baffert said. The colt ended up 4 1/4 lengths behind Good Magic, trained by Chad Brown, and a length in front of heavy favorite Bolt d’Oro.
“He was on the hot pace and then he was out there by himself. He got beat by a pretty good horse. Chad Brown was telling me that it was his best 2-year-old. He ran well. He’s getting better. I thought he could move way up, but he’s not there yet.”
Baffert said he wasn’t sure what was ahead for Mor Spirit, the beaten favorite in the Dirt Mile, who appears to have lost interest in training and racing. He said his other Dirt Mile horse, Cupid, was being retired.
Gunnevera – Margoth’s Gunnevera was in good health the morning after finishing in a deadheat for fifth place with Arrogate in Saturday’s Classic, said Chino Prada, assistant to trainer Antonio Santo.
“His legs are good; he’s good,” Prada said. “He ran a good race. He had a couple of problems in the race, but he ran good.”
Prada said the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park Jan. 27 is the primary goal for the South Florida-based 3yo colt.
All European horses were reported to be in good health after their efforts on the Del Mar track Friday and Saturday that culminated in three victories for the European team.
The 13 horses from the all-conquering stable of Aidan O’Brien all ate up and Pat Keating, the traveling head lad, was very happy with the condition of the horses Sunday morning.
“They have all eaten up and they are all in great condition. Nothing has been decided yet, but I think that the boss will be thinking of sending Highland Reel and Lancaster Bomber out to the Hong Kong International races in December.”
Mendelssohn, who won Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, is being touted as a possible Kentucky Derby runner next year but as of Sunday nothing was set in stone.
Another possible for Hong Kong is the Roger Varian-trained Nezwaah, but similar to Highland Reel and Lancaster Bomber no final decision has been made.
Talismanic, who surprised many with his victory in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, was in great shape Sunday morning and trainer Andre Fabre has not ruled out that the son of Medaglia d’Oro will head to Hong Kong in December. It is also a possibility that Talismanic will stay in training in 2018.
Wuheida, a convincing winner of the Filly & Mare Turf, was led out Sunday morning for a Godolphin team photo and is another whose future racing career is still undecided.
Tim Denniff, who has been in charge of the Godolphin horses while they have been in Del Mar said: “Charlie Appleby is due to have a meeting with Sheikh Mohammed in the next couple of days and a decision on whether she is finished for the season or has one more run in Hong Kong will be discussed. She is absolutely fine today and has been a real star.”
Marsha, who finished sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and who gave Sir Mark Prescott his first Breeders’ Cup runner will be heading to the Newmarket sales this month and it is expected that the dual Group 1 winner will fetch a lot of money when she goes through the ring.
Preparations were being made this morning for all the horses to leave Del Mar with the main charter flight consisting of the English and French horses leaving later today and the Irish contingent from Ballydoyle leaving in the early hours of Monday morning. Beckford, trained in Ireland by leading jumps trainer Gordon Elliott, is remaining in America for a rest at his owner’s stud farm in Kentucky and may run in America in the early part of next year before returning to Elliott in Ireland.
Avenge – Trainer Richard Mandella will bid adieu to longtime trainee Avenge on Monday as she heads to a new role in life. She’ll travel to Claiborne Farm in Paris, Ky. for a quarantine period before heading to England for a breeding date with international racing star Frankel.
Avenge was part of the Mandella stable throughout her career, posting a record of seven victories in 17 starts. She was third in the 2016 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but last of 14 in the same race Saturday. She has lifetime earnings of $868,341.
Trainer Brian Lynch (Oscar Performance, ninth Turf and Heart to Heart, 10th Mile) – “You live by the sword and you die by the sword,” trainer Brian Lynch said the morning after his two pacesetters retreated in the stretch to finish off the board in their respective races.
Both horses are scheduled to fly to Florida this week for a break before returning to action in 2018.
“They seem all right this morning,” Lynch said. “For ‘Oscar’ maybe it was the end of a long season. (Jockey) Jose (Ortiz) said he was trying to lay on Beach Patrol on the turn into the stretch and he had never done that before. So we are going to go over him with a fine-toothed comb.”
As for Heart to Heart, Lynch said stretching him out past a mile may be in the 6yo’s best interest.
“There is just too much pace pressure going a mile,” Lynch said. “When I saw 45 for the half, I knew it was going to be tough against those kinds of horses.”
Lynch said the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in April, a race Heart to Heart has finished second in the past two years, remains a target for 2018.
“I’ll find a race for him in Florida and then come to Kentucky,” Lynch said. “I may consider the Woodford Reserve (Turf Classic) at a mile and an eighth at Churchill Downs where he is unbeaten.”
Bar of Gold – Trainer John Kimmel said that Filly & Mare Sprint winner Bar of Gold came out of her upset victory in tremendous shape.
The Chester and Mary Broman homebred won by a nose at 66-1 under Irad Ortiz Jr. and returned $135.40, the second-highest payout in Breeders’ Cup history.
“I couldn’t be a happier with the way she responded and the way she came out of the race,” Kimmel said.
Bar of Gold, the third New York-bred to win a Breeders’ Cup race, is scheduled to be bred next year. Kimmel said it was likely that the Filly & Mare Sprint was her career finale.
The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was the beaten favorite in the Spinster at Keeneland on Oct. 8 and it didn’t look like she would compete in the Breeders’ Cup. But Kimmel said the situation changed in late October.
“That was a real head-scratcher, the last race,” Kimmel said. “All in all, she had a couple of nice works between the two races – particularly the last one (Oct. 28) – because we were on the fence until then. When we found out that she would have qualified for the race, Mr. Broman was game enough to say, ‘Let’s give it a go if she’s doing well’ I said that ‘yes, she is.’ That was probably the icing on the cake and the other thing was that Irad was open. Irad and Bar of Gold have a very good rapport. I think that was half of the problem in the other race. (Luis) Saez’s lack of familiarity with the filly cost us.”
Bar of Gold provided the Kimmel, a veterinarian-turned-trainer based in New York, with his first Breeders’ Cup victory.
“I’ve knocked on the door a few times,” he said. “I’ve been second and third in the Classic and second in the Juvenile, but had never knocked one down. I don’t get too many opportunities to win one, so this is quite satisfying.”
Bolt d’Oro – Owner/trainer Mick Ruis reported that Bolt d’Oro came out of his third-place finish in Saturday’s Juvenile in good order.
The son of Medaglia d’Oro stumbled slightly at the start while breaking from the No. 11 post and was forced wide throughout the race in which he sustained his first career loss, beaten by 5 1/4 lengths by victorious Good Magic and a length by runner-up Solomini.
“That was a horrible trip,” Ruis said. “He had to race wide all the way around there. He never could get in.”
Bolt d’Oro, who had won the first three races of his career, is scheduled to return to Ruis’ Santa Anita barn late Sunday afternoon.
“He’ll get 60 days. We’ll keep him there and tack walk him. We’ll plant some grass for him, just for him. He’s just a baby. We’ll let him grow into his 3-year-old season. He’s had a hard campaign,” Ruis said.
Current plans are to point Bolt d’Oro to the San Felipe and Santa Anita Derby with participation in the 2018 Triple Crown the ultimate goal.
Caledonia Road – Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies winner Caledonia Road left the Del Mar backstretch early Sunday morning to board a South Florida-bound flight with a stop in Kentucky.
The daughter of Quality Road made a sweeping move on the far turn and kicked in to capture the 1 1/16-mile race for 2yo fillies by 3 ¼ lengths. Trainer Ralph Nicks said horse and trainer came out of the race in great shape.
“How could you not be feeling great,” Nicks said the morning after saddling his first career Breeders’ Cup winner.
Owned by Zoom and Fish Stable, Inc., Charlie Spiring and Newtown Anner Stud, Caledonia Road captured her debut at Saratoga by 2 ¾ lengths before finishing second in the Frizette at Belmont.
“I expected her to run really well. You never know when you get to this level of competition. I thought her race at Belmont was outstanding, because she got away bad and made a strong middle move. The way she’s done since then is nothing but move forward,” Nicks said. “I expected a good race out of her, but for her to go out there and dominate those fillies is just an amazing feat for her.”
Nicks is confident Caledonia Road will be voted an Eclipse Award as the outstanding 2yo filly of 2017.
“You would hope so. She is Grade 1 placed on the East Coast and she dominated the Breeders’ Cup. It would be hard to deny her, I would believe,” he said.
The Gulfstream Park-based Nicks is looking forward to a 2018 campaign for the Florida-bred filly.
“We’ll probably work backwards from the Kentucky Oaks,” he said. “We’ll get her home and evaluate her, see how she is and kind of be smart about what we do.”
Finley’sluckycharm – Carl Moore’s Finley’sluckycharm, who finished ninth as the third choice in the Filly & Mare Sprint, is headed back to Kentucky and then on to Fair Grounds in New Orleans where she will get 30-40 days off in trainer Bret Calhoun’s barn.
“She came out of the race good,” Calhoun said of the filly who finished worse than second for the first time in 12 sprint races. “(Jockey) Brian (Hernandez Jr.) thought she was just spinning her wheels out there but we have no excuses.”
Calhoun said the plan for the moment after her break is to get a race in her at Fair Grounds in March with Grade 1 Madison at Keeneland in April and the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in May as the early targets in 2018.
Good Magic – e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables’ Good Magic has exited his impressive 4 1/4-length win in the $2 million Sentient Jet Juvenile in top order, according to trainer Chad Brown. Breaking his maiden in the nation’s top 2yo race, the son of Curlin was making his third career start and was the first half of an exacta for his sire. Zayat Stables’ Solomini finished second.
When asked if the chestnut $1 million Keeneland September purchase would immediately be rested for a 3yo campaign or aimed toward the Remsen Stakes (at Aqueduct on Dec. 2) with an eye on sewing up year-end honors, Brown reported that no plans either way have been made at this point.
Good Magic represented a third win in as many tries and second in as many days for Bob Edwards’ e Five Racing Thoroughbreds, following victories in the 2016 and 2017 Juvenile Fillies with New Money Honey and Rushing Fall.
Trainer Graham Motion (Untamed Domain and Maya Malibu) – Graham Motion said that his two 2yo Breeders' Cup runners: Untamed Domain, runner-up in the Juvenile Turf, and Maya Malibu, 13th in the Juvenile Fillies, came out of their races in good order. He said both will be given some time off and then prepared for the 2018 season.
Imperial Hint – Sprint runner-up Imperial Hint was a bit weary, but no worse for wear the morning after being beaten only one length.
“When he came back after the race he looked a little tired,” said trainer Luis Carvajal Jr., who is based at Parx and saddled his first Breeders’ Cup starter and first Grade 1 runner. “But the good thing I love to see is that after running a really hard race against the best in the world, he went right to his feed tub and started eating. He’s been eating everything since and that’s a great sign. He looks very alert today.”
The modestly bred, 4yo Imperial Hint, who is by Imperialism out of Royal Hint, had good reason to be tired after his race. He took over before the half-mile pole and led by a half-length in the stretch, setting blistering fractions of 21.82 and 44.61, before being passed near the sixteenth pole by Roy H, who crossed the wire in 1:08.61.
Imperial Hint stands just 15 hands high and the dual Grade 3 winner is the first stakes winner for Carvajal and for 85-year-old Raymond Mamone, a longtime owner, who is down to Imperial Hint as his final horse in training. Mamone, who lost his wife in recent years, eschewed coming to Del Mar as the experience would prove too emotional and instead he watched the race on TV from his east coast home.
“I called him after the race and he was really happy. Of course, we both wanted to win and we came here to win. But, this horse gave us his best and you can’t ask for anything more than that. For us, just coming to the Breeders’ Cup is a winning situation, especially the way he ran. We just got beat by a really, really nice horse. He proved himself. I was never wrong about him. I’m just very happy with my little guy.”
During the week leading to the race, Carvajal’s 1-year-old son took his first steps. Although the conditioner, who also has seven claiming horses in his Parx barn, hated to miss the occasion, he was excited about the next steps in his career.
“My first time Breeders’ Cup experience was beautiful. This is a beautiful racetrack, and the people were beautiful to me. I got to meet a lot of nice people. I stabled in Doug O’Neill’s barn and they treated me great. They could not have been better to me,” he said. “This is my first Breeders’ Cup and I hope there will be more.”
Carvajal was still finalizing flight with Fed-Ex and was unsure if Imperial Hint would be on the same plane with the New-York based Breeders’ Cup horses.
“I think we’ll ship on Tuesday. We might have to fly to New York and van home,” he said. “I don’t know what’s next for him. I like to run him seven to eight weeks apart. Right now he’s looking at me like he wants to do something already. But, after the long trip back on the plane, I think two months. Once he goes back to the track (at Parx) he’ll tell me and we’ll figure it out.”
Lady Aurelia – Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel’s globetrotting multiple Group I winner Lady Aurelia has exited her 10th-place finish as the 9-10 favorite in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in acceptable order, according to trainer Wesley Ward. The two-time Royal Ascot winner, two-time Group 1 winner and four-times stakes winner from just seven lifetime starts will now get a rest and point toward a 4yo campaign.
“She came out good, but unfortunately it’s just been a long season,” Ward said. “She’s heading to Robert Turner at Stonestreet (Farm) and she’s going to get a little breather. I would like to get her relaxed physically and mentally and hopefully get back going again next year. She’s accomplished a lot this season, but unfortunately we couldn’t close it out. We’ll try next year.”
Raced only four times in 2017, Lady Aurelia shipped to England twice to compete in two of its most prestigious turf sprints against older males, the Group 1 King’s Stand at Ascot in which she romped by three widening lengths and the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York in which she was nipped at the wire by fellow Turf Sprint also-ran Marsha. She began her season in April’s listed Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland, easily besting older fillies and mares.
Ward confirmed that an unprecedented third consecutive victory in as many years at Royal Ascot is the first immediate goal for Lady Aurelia. No American-trained horse has done so and she is the only one to have won in successive years.
Trainer Mark Casse (World Approval, Awesome Slew, Holding Gold, Heavenly Love, Wonder Gadot, Gio Game, and Flameaway) – World Approval, who gave trainer Mark Casse his fourth Breeders’ Cup victory and owner/breeder Mrs. Charlotte Weber of Live Oak Plantation and Live Oak Stud her second, was in prime condition the morning after the horse's world class performance in the Mile.
“He looks good and he’s happy. He came back fine and we’re happy,” said Norman Casse, the assistant to his father, who was back on the road traveling to the sales and to the divisions of his stable.
The homebred World Approval, who is a half-brother to Live Oak homebred and 2006 Mile winner Miesque’s Approval out of Mrs. Weber’s blue hen mare Win Approval, enhanced his status as a leading candidate for an Eclipse Award as champion turf male.
“I think he’s hands down the champion male turf horse. He’s won three Grade 1 races in a row, and the Breeders’ Cup race, which is a championship deciding race. That should solidify it,” Casse said.
World Approval, a gelded son of Northern Afleet, is notorious for his mean streak in the barn and Norman Casse has worked extensively with him to bring him to this point. In his two starts prior to the Mile he won the Fourstardave and Saratoga and Woodbine’s Ricoh Mile.
“It’s very satisfying,” Casse said of the Mile score. “He’s just a cool horse. His connections are cool. It’s always satisfying that when a horse is showing you all the signs that he’s doing really, well and then they show up and run the way you think they will. I try to keep my emotions cool and try not to tout horses too much, but I was telling everybody all month that I thought the horse would win the race because of the way he was training. He rewarded our confidence.”
Now, World Approval, who won by 1 ¼ lengths under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, and the other six of Casse’s Breeders’ Cup starters over the weekend get a vacation.
“All are flying to Ocala (Florida) Tuesday. The three Live Oak horses (World Approval; Awesome Slew, third in the Dirt Mile; Holding Gold, seventh in the Turf Sprint) will go to Live Oak and the rest (Heavenly Love, 11th in the 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies; Wonder Gadot, sixth in the Juvenile Fillies; Gio Game, ninth in the Juvenile Fillies, and Flameaway, eighth in the Juvenile Turf) will go to our training center in Ocala just a few miles away. They are all getting a bit of a break and we won’t see any of them until early spring. We have bigger fish to fry in the spring with Kentucky Oaks horses, hopefully, so we don’t need to rush them into anything,” he said.
As for the trio of 2yo fillies, Casse said, “Wonder Gadot ran a good race. I think she’ll be a good horse going forward. The first time on the dirt is always a good thing to do. The other two fillies were down on the rail and that’s where you wanted to be all day yesterday on the main track. I think those are throw-out races for them both and they will be horses to look forward to in the future.”
Flameaway was trying the grass for the first time, but Casse said that wasn’t a factor in the outcome of his race in the Juvenile Turf.
“I think Flameaway really likes the turf. He hadn’t really run in a real fast race yet. We’re hoping that because that was a significantly fast race he got some bottom to him. I think going forward he’ll stay on the turf or the synthetic because he’s Canadian-bred. I thought he ran a really good race,” he said.
In the immediate future, the father and son team will have an active interest in the November sales in Kentucky, where their first two Breeders’ Cup winners – Tepin in the 2015 Mile and Catch a Glimpse in the 2015 Juvenile Fillies Turf – will go through the ring as broodmare prospects.
“I’m trying to be back for Tepin selling (at Fasig-Tipton),” Casse said of the 2015 and 2016 Eclipse Award-winning Turf Mare. “It was very hard when she left the barn, but now we’re kind of removed from it. But I want to be there to see her.”
Trainer Peter Miller (Stormy Liberal, Richard’s Kid, Roy H) – Much calmer and showing a more controlled elation than was evident in the wake of his first two victories in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Peter Miller and his two young sons watched as some of his horses exercised Sunday morning at Del Mar.
A trainer’s work is never done, even in the afterglow of such a powerfully emotional day. Adding to the afterglow was a trail of congratulations coming in.
Basking in their own limelight were Miller trainees Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Kid, who finished 1-2 in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, and Roy H, winner of the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“Everybody came out of the races well,” Miller said. “I’m a little rough, but I made it back this morning. It’s nice to sleep in your own bed after winning my first Breeders’ Cups. It made it a lot less stressful for me and the horses. I think the results proved out.”
Not one to linger too long in the moment, Miller is already thinking ahead to what’s next.
“We’re considering taking Stormy Liberal to Hong Kong for the Sprint,” Miller said. “They’ve asked about Stormy Liberal, Roy H and Richard’s Boy, but Stormy Liberal is more likely because he’s had more of a break. He had a break coming into this race so he’s a fresher horse. Richard’s Boy has run hard and Roy H has run hard so we’ll back off of those two for a while.”
The Hong Kong Sprint is Dec. 10.
When asked if he expected Saturday’s results, Miller said, “I thought they were all training well. I had a lot of confidence in Roy H, especially. The others were all doing well, so I thought they would all run well. You just don’t know if they’re good enough. I knew they would have to bring their ‘A’ game if they were to win. Stormy Liberal and Richard’s Boy proved they were as good as any turf sprinters in the world.”
Miller said his long-range outlook for all three runners includes pursuing a program that will get them all back to the Breeders’ Cup next year at Churchill Downs.
Zipessa – Empyrean Stables’ Zipessa, who set the pace in the Filly & Mare Turf before fading to 11th left Del Mar Saturday night for Kentucky and this week’s Fasig-Tipton Sale.
“Our plan was not to be on the lead, but she broke sharp like always and nobody else wanted to be there either so we were forced on the lead which was death the whole two days on the turf,” trainer Mike Stidham said via text. “Ultimately we won our Grade 1 at Keeneland (the First Lady) and would have liked to have run better yesterday, but it wasn’t meant to be.”