Sunday, March 18, 2012

Zo Impressive, 10-year-old Pyramyst, Oaks Works

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Live Oak Plantation’s Zo Impressive was sent to the track at Palm Meadows Training Center Saturday morning for a five-furlong workout in preparation for the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) on March 31.

The gray daughter of Hard Spun, who was ridden by exercise rider Adele Bellinger was timed in 1:03 4/5.

“She’s doing really good,” trainer Tom Albertrani said from Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Boynton Beach. Zo Impressive has launched her career with back-to-back victories at Gulfstream Park by a combined 10 ¾ lengths. The Live Oak Plantation homebred drew off by 6 ¼ lengths over next-out winner Morrow Cove in her six-furlong debut on Jan. 22.

“The talent was always there, but in her first start I was really impressed,” Albertrani said. “I didn’t expect to be that impressed with her first start. But before she ran she definitely showed a ton of talent.”

Zo Impressive stretched out to a mile in an entry-level allowance on Feb. 25 and pulled away to a 4 ½-length triumph.

“She was definitely better in her second race. She was more focused. In her first race, she didn’t particularly care too much for the kickback. In her second start, she moved forward, but she’s still in the learning process,” Albertrani said. “She still stays on her left lead, but I think all that will take care of itself when she gets a little more experience with racing.”

Zo Impressive will make her stakes debut in the Gulfstream Park Oaks on the Florida Derby Day program.

“Hopefully, she’ll continue to improve in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and we can continue on to the Kentucky Oaks (G1),” Albertrani said.

Pyramyst Proves Walder Wrong Again and Again

Trainer Peter Walder admits his first impression of Pyramyst wasn’t the best after he claimed her for $10,000 at Arlington Park in 2007.

“The funny story is: I ran her back in an $18,000 down to $16,000 and she had dead aim on the horses turning for home and she didn’t win,” Walder recalled. “I was calling her a cheater and heartless. Then, if you look at her form, she goes and runs off six straight wins after that to prove me wrong.”

Five years after claiming Pyramyst, the now 10-year-old mare is still in Walder’s barn and still as competitive as ever as she prepares to run Sunday in a $10,000 claimer. The Pyramid Peak mare will be making her fourth start of the meet, having won Dec. 23 and finishing second for a $15,000 tag March 2.

“She’s pretty awesome,” said Walder of Pyramyst, who has earned $532,377 in 64 races over 18 tracks. “It’s been nice having her in the barn. She’s like an American Express card – anytime you need to pay the bills you just run her. She has her issues, but that’s why we got her for $10,000. She runs her best every time she goes out there. She’s best when she gets time between her races to recover from her races.”

Walder said Pyramyst, who gave him his first stakes win back in 2008 when she won the $100,000 George Rosenberg at Delaware, will run as long as she’s enjoying herself and competitive.

“She’s running, she’s winning…it’s not like she’s given us a reason to retire her,” he said. “She’s really cool.”

Grace Hall & Yara Breeze for Gulfstream Oaks

Peras International’s Yara posted a 65-to-1 upset winning the $350,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) going 1 1/16 miles by a neck over Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Elkstone Group’s 4-to-5 favorite Grace Hall at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 25, and the rematch appears set to come in the $300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) at 1 1/8 miles on Florida Derby Day, Sat., Mar. 31.

Both fillies posted workouts Saturday morning as Grace Hall was timed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Palm Meadows for trainer Anthony Dutrow. The daughter of Empire Maker was making her first start in the Davona Dale since finishing a game second behind My Miss Aurelia in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

Yara is based at Calder Race Course with trainer Jose Garoffalo and breezed a half-mile there in 50 flat. The chestnut daughter of Put It Back was making her first start around two turns in the Davona Dale after finishing a well-beaten fourth in the seven-furlong Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream on Jan. 29.

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