• MIA LADY TRIES TURF FOR FIRST TIME CALIFORNIA DISTAFF
Team O’Neill has been high on Clenor ever since the Irish-bred filly arrived from the Emerald Isle this summer.
“She’s been perfect,” said trainer Doug O‘Neill’s assistant Leandro Mora when asked about the 2-year-old daughter of the Danehill stallion Oratorio before her first race. O’Neill himself gave the thumbs up sign when asked how she was doing.
Clenor broke her maiden in her first U.S. start, winning by 2 ½ lengths at one mile on turf at Del Mar Aug. 7, then came back with a similar score, this by 3 ¼ lengths, in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at the seaside venue Sept. 2.
Next up: Sunday’s $100,000 Surfer Girl at one mile on grass, Santa Anita’s last
logical prep for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 1, a race for which Clenor is favored.
“She’s a nice filly,” O’Neill said. “We had high hopes for her when she came here and she’s validated them so far with two big efforts at Del Mar, so we’re pumped about her.
“(Assistants) Steve (Rothblum) and Jack (Sisterson) found her in Ireland, got the deal done and it’s been a great buy.”
The field for the Surfer Girl: South Sound, Mario Gutierrez, 12-1; Pleasant Miss, Edwin Maldonado, 6-1; Clenor, Rafael Bejarano, 6-5; Miss Lafayette, Corey Nakatani,
12-1; Feature Attraction, Alberto Delgado, 30-1; Tiz the Key, Julien Leparoux, 6-1; Miss Machiavelli, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Colonel Joan, Garrett Gomez, 6-1; Nesso, Martin Garcia, 6-1; and Come on Alannah, Kayla Stra, 30-1.
MIA LADY SET FOR TURF DEBUT IN CALIFORNIA DISTAFF HANDICAP
If breeding means anything, Mia Lady should fancy the turf when she makes her grass and stakes debut at Santa Anita next Saturday in the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap at about 6 ½ furlongs on turf.
Mia Lady’s dam is Dear Lady, who was sired by Avenue of Flags. His progeny includes 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag, a downhill turf course specialist of the highest order.
“She’s breezed really well on turf,” said Simon Callaghan, who trains the chestnut filly for Charles Winner of Los Angeles. “She seems to handle it really well, so we’re looking forward to the race. She’s training well and it looks like a good spot for her.”
Mia Lady worked four furlongs on Santa Anita’s turf course Saturday in 48.40. Victor Espinoza, who has ridden her in each of her five starts, winning two, one on Betfair Hollywood Park’s synthetic Cushion Track and the other on Del Mar’s synthetic Polytrack, retains the mount Saturday.
“She’s handles those surfaces well but the breeding is there for grass,” Callaghan said.