Thursday, September 11, 2008
After the Applause tries turf in Natalma
TORONTO, September 11 - Trainer Nicholas Gonzalez will attempt to net his meet-leading ninth stakes win of the 2008 Woodbine campaign in Sunday's $150,000 Natalma Stakes.
The Fort Erie resident will saddle After the Applause in the Grade 3 event, which, as a 'Win and You're In' race, guarantees a berth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.
Bred in Kentucky by Hal Snowden, Jr., After the Applause began her career in South Florida, in the barn of Stephen DiMauro.
Assistant trainer Martha Gonzalez explained how the deal came to fruition.
"She was bought privately from Hal Snowden, who Nick trains for down in Fort Erie," said Martha Gonzalez. "Hal just happened to call and said he had two nice fillies, both winners, two-year-olds, and asked if Nick knew anybody that was looking to buy horses. He laughed and said, 'The Tuccis are always looking to buy.'"
Gonzalez said Tucci bought both fillies, the other being Back to Therapy, who suffered a minor injury after she broke in a tangle in her last race.
"She's a gorgeous, beautiful filly. It looks like she'll go further," said Gonzalez of After the Applause. "There's a fair size to her, for a two-year-old filly."
Her looks weren't deceiving - After the Applause was also an instant success on the racetrack. Less than one month after her maiden victory, she competed in the Ontario Debutante. Similar to her maiden victory, the filly rallied wide and just missed defeating Juliet's Spirit.
Gonzalez said the plan in the Natalma is to add blinkers and keep her more focused.
"David Clark breezed her one morning and said she was doing the same thing that cost her the (Ontario Debutante). She was eyeballing the horse beside her and kind of getting out a little bit. I put a set of blinkers on her. She's a lot more focused now. I think she will move forward."
On Sept. 7, in preparation for the Natalma, After the Applause worked five furlongs in 1:02-flat, handily, in company with four-year-old stakes winner Artie Hot. Chantal Sutherland, who will ride her Sunday, was aboard for the 'Poly' work.
"I put 'Artie' on the outside of her so that she would kind of get buried a little bit. She stayed with him and actually galloped out in front of him."
A bay filly, After the Applause has never started on the turf, but as a daughter of Lost Solidier, she has licence to be successful over the new surface.
"She's bred to run on the turf. She's by Lost Soldier. We never believe in breezing them on the turf. If they run, they handle it. If they don't, they don't," offered Gonzalez.
The Natalma is slated for race six on Sunday's 10-race programme, which also includes the Swynford Stakes.
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