Fillies and mares from around the globe are gathering at Betfair Hollywood Park in anticipation of the Grade I, $250,000 Matriarch at one mile on turf, to be run Sunday, November 25. The Matriarch is part of the Hollywood Turf Festival, which is scheduled November 23-25.
Already on the grounds are Juddmonte Farm’s Emulous (Dermot Weld), winner of the 2011 Grade 1 Coolmore Matron Stakes in Ireland and third in the same race this year, and J Al Thani’s Rjwa (Francois Rohaut), a close second in the Grade 1 Montieu Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary at Longchamp in France. Rjwa is also eligible for the $250,000 Hollywood Derby the same day.
Also likely to run is Frankel, Frankel, Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbred’s Dayatthespa, who captured the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup Oct. 13 at Keeneland. Trained by Chad Brown, Daytatthespa has won five in a row to increase her earnings to $574,892.
Another prominent nominee is Bolton and Leidel’s Future Generation (Cristophe Clement), a Grade 3 winner last year and recently victorious in the Serena’s Cat Stakes at Belmont Park. Overall, Future Generation has won six of 13 and earned $239.380.
Back for another try is Team Valor’s Summer Soiree (Graham Motion), who lost a hard-fought decision to Star Billing in last year’s Matriarch.
Other possibilities are Robert Evans’ Vamo a Galupiar (Neil Drysdale), Hoefflin, Hollendorfer, et al’s Halo Dolly (Jerry Hollendorfer), Lanni Family Trust’s Reneesgotzip (Peter Miller) and Jungle Racing, et al’s Mizdirection (Mike Puype), recent winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
In other Turf Festival news, Yvonne Jacques’ Grandeur (Ken McPeak) and Moyglare Stud Farms’ Speaking of Which (Dermot Weld), 1-2 finishers in the Grade II Twilight Derby at Santa Anita, are expected to renew their rivalry in the Grade 1, $250,000 Hollywood Derby, run the same day as the Matriarch.
EVER PATIENT SHIRREFFS SET TO UNVEIL ZENYATTA’S SISTER
Social media sites have been buzzing for months. She already has her own Facebook page. Now the time is at hand; Zenyatta’s half-sister is ready to make her debut in Friday’s fourth race at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Eblouissante (pronounced a-bloo-e-sahn), by Bernardini out of the prolific broodmare Vertigineux, has been in training more than a year and has dozens of published workouts. Such a long preparation time might sound alarm bells to some, but not to those who know trainer John Shirreffs, a master of patience.
“If you care anything about your horse, you stop and give them time,” said Shirreffs, who also trained Zenyatta throughout her career. “Then you start over again, you don’t just pick up where you left off. It’s a matter of letting the filly grow and develop. Zenyatta was unique in that she grew into the horse she became. She started out one way and grew and developed.”
Naturally, the comparisons with Zenyatta come with the territory. “Obviously, there are a lot of similarities, a lot,” emphasized Shirreffs. “She’s almost like having Zenyatta in the barn because they’re so much alike. As far as characteristics, both like to hold their head up high and are really into what’s going on around them. Both are imposing fillies and both are big and rangy.”
Shirreffs added that “Ebby,” as she’s called around the barn, “looks a lot like her, except she’s missing Zenyatta’s white markings on her head. We don’t know what her style is, so we’ll have to wait and see.” Shirreffs wanted to make it clear, though, that “she’s her own horse. She’s not Zenyatta.”
Asked why Eblouissante starts out at a mile and one-sixteenth as opposed to Zenyatta, who graduated first time out (Nov. 22, 2007 at Betfair Hollywood Park) at 6 1-2 furlongs, Shirreffs explained that “up until her last work, she didn’t show a lot of speed in her workouts, so we thought we’d go long with her.”
Adding intrigue to the race is the presence of Belonging, who races for Jerry and Ann Moss, owners of Zenyatta. Eblouissante is owned by Eric Kronfeld, who is scheduled to be on hand for her debut. Kronfeld bred both Zenyatta and Eblouissante under the stable name Maverick Productions, Ltd.
If Eblouissant runs anything like her pedigree and name (Eblouissante is French for “brilliant”), racing fans are in for a treat Friday.
KENTUCKY DERBY TRIO SET FOR DELTA DOWNS INVASION
Owner Reddam Racing, LLC, trainer Doug O’Neill and jockey Mario Gutierrez, who teamed with I’ll Have Another to win this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness, will get together again with Know More in the Grade III, $1 million Delta Jackpot Saturday at Delta Downs.
Know More, a son of Lion Heart, won the Grade II Best Pal Stakes in his debut at Del Mar, was second in the Del Mar Futurity and Front Runner, both Grade 1’s, and last time out was a troubled 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
O’Neill also will send out Goldencents, runner-up last out in the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park. Kevin Krigger has the assignment.
According to agent Craig O’Brien, Gutierrez will be in Vancouver Friday accepting an award and will fly straight to Louisiana.
CLOSING STRIDES —Bill Spawr informs that Amazombie came out of his 9th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in good shape. “I don’t think he handled that track,” said Spawr. “He just wouldn’t get into the bit. He’s fine, though, so we’re just going to hang out and look for options.”……. Jockey David Flores will be the guest of co-hosts Michael Burns and George Ortuzar on Escogiendo Ganadores (Picking Winners) Saturday, Nov. 17 at Betfair Hollywood Park. Flores, who entered the 2012 Autumn meet with 940 wins at Betfair Hollywood Park, Burns and Ortuzar will discuss the veteran rider’s career as well as the Saturday card, including the featured $75,000-added On Trust Handicap for California breds. Escogiendo Ganadores begins at 11 a.m. at the Paddock Tote Board. A half-hour later, Rich Perloff of TVG will host The Hollywood Insider at the same location……..The first Pick Six Saturday was a rousing success. The $150,000 guarantee was surpassed, and because the pool went over $200,000 ($217,133), patrons were able to purchase hot dogs and soft drinks for only $1. The promotion continues each Saturday throughout the meeting. If there’s a single ticket that hits the Pick 6, and that ticket was purchased on track or through TVG, the winner receives a new Toyota Prius – courtesy of Toyota of Orange……..Heading into Thursday’s card, 559 people remained alive in the $2,500 Show Me the Money Contest.
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