Tuesday, July 29, 2008
THE NAME’S THE GAME FOR ONE FILLY HEADING FOR HIRSCH ‘CAP
It would be hard to find a filly more suited, by name, to compete in Saturday's Grade II, $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap.
The filly is named West Coast Swing and she's heading this way from Kentucky on Tuesday. Accompanying the 4-year-old daughter of Gone West on the flight will be trainer Shannon Ritter. They'll be coming from Ritter's home base of Keeneland Race Course in Lexington for the 1 1/16-mile race on the main track.
In her only start this year, the filly scored an impressive 6 1/4-length victory in an allowance/optional claiming event at Churchill Downs June 21.
Ritter has been training four years, after a seven-year stint with Elliott Walden before he left training to become an official with WinStar Farm. While with Walden, Ritter was the regular exercise rider of 1998 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop, who caught Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Real Quiet on the wire in one of the closest Belmonts in history.
West Coast Swing is expected to be sorely tested by the undefeated Zenyatta, perhaps the nation's best older filly or mare on the main track. Zenyatta, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and trained by John Shirreffs, is six for six with purse earnings of $734,580.
Others committed to the race so far include Dawn After Dawn from the John Sadler barn, the Mike Mitchell-trained Romance Is Diane, Bruce Headley's Silver Swallow and multiple graded stakes winner Tough Tiz's Sis, trained by Bob Baffert.
Foxysox and Placid Lake are nominated to both the Hirsch and Sunday's John C. Mabee on the turf, but neither Carla Gaines nor Vladimir Cerin have committed yet to either race.
Weights will be announced today.
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