Thursday, November 1, 2012

In Lingerie – The 3yo daughter of Empire Maker has been an outstanding performer on dirt and artificial surfaces, but she’ll face a new challenge in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

“You usually don’t go to the Breeders’ Cup trying a new surface for the first time, but she’s a filly that’s undefeated on the synthetic (3-for-3),” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who oversaw a maintenance gallop Thursday morning at Santa Anita. “So we thought it made some sense to at least try (turf), especially since she worked very well over the surface twice.”

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Gary Barber, and Debmar Stables, In Lingerie won the Spinster at Keeneland in her last start. No winner of the Filly & Mare Turf has had that race as a final prep, but Pletcher made his plan, and the owners concurred.

“We have always been leaning toward this since the Spinster,” Pletcher said. “We needed everything to go right once she got here and it has. She’s settled in here real well and she’s had those two good breezes over the turf.”

Lady of Shamrock – Galloped 1 1/4 miles on the main track in her final pre-race exercise.

The American Oaks and Del Mar Oaks winner, a 3yo daughter of Scat Daddy, will be the first representative of this year’s Breeders’ Cup team for trainer John Sadler as he attempts to win his first Breeders' Cup event after going 0-for-24 from 1988-2011.

“She's a lovely filly,” Sadler said. “The thing that you like about her is that she's undefeated on this course, she's proven at the distance, and she's a nose away from being undefeated this year. The loss in the Honeymoon, where she got stopped and was beat a nose, I don't think there's any question she was best.

“There are several European fillies in the race that are very, very good and you have to give them a lot of respect. But we're not running just to run. We think we're going to have a good shot.”

Marketing Mix – Provided that all continues to go well for Filly & Mare Turf contender Marketing Mix, she will be kept in training to carry the orange-and-black colors of Glen Hill Farm again next year.

“I certainly hope she’ll race next year,” said Craig Bernick, president of the prominent racing and breeding operation. “She’s been a very nice mare for us. She’s done everything we’ve ever asked of her and she owes us nothing. Whether she wins this race or not, it doesn’t change anything. She’s probably the best horse we’ve ever had.”

That’s saying something, considering that Glen Hill campaigned seven previous Breeders’ Cup horses, including One Dreamer, winner of the 1994 Distaff (now Ladies’ Classic).

“She’s way better than One Dreamer,” said Bernick. “She’s made more money in half the starts, and that includes One Dreamer’s win in the Breeders’ Cup.”

Now a 4yo, Marketing Mix has earned $1,299,518 in 15 efforts, and is based in Southern California with trainer Tom Proctor, having won her last start, the Rodeo Drive Stakes, on Santa Anita’s turf course.

“I hope she’ll have a home-field advantage,” Bernick said. “I’m sure that some of the European horses won’t like the hard turf or the turns, but some of them will handle it all. This race is wide open, and hopefully, our horse gets a good trip and is fast enough.”

Star Billing – The 4yo filly galloped 1m on the main track at Santa Anita Thursday under exercise rider Marco Ramirez to the satisfaction of trainer John Shirreffs.

Zagora – Martin Schwartz’s 5yo mare galloped 1 1/2 m for trainer Chad Brown Thursday morning.

The daughter of Green Tune is scheduled to be sold at auction, and the Filly & Mare Turf is likely to be the final start of her career.

Brown has a special attachment to Zagora.

“She was our first grade 1 winner and a very reliable horse for our stable,” Brown said. “She has a terrific race record and she’s a model of consistency. She will be sorely missed. Hopefully she can go out on a winning note here.”

And Brown said Zagora belongs in the race.

“I think she fits well,” he said. “She’s looked amazing out here all week. Her coat looks terrific and she’s moving nice and smooth. I think she’s in career fitness right now. Her physical strength is at an all-time high for her. It’s good to have that happening right around the time of her biggest obstacle. I think she fits very well with this group.”