Come Sunday, one or maybe even both could see a sudden end to recent good fortune when they face five others in the 30th running of the $65,000-added Busher for three-year-old fillies at a mile and a sixteenth.
December Hill Farm’s Pumpkin Shell has learned the game a bit more slowly than What a Pear, but the lessons seemed to have taken hold.
“She ran a very good race in her debut at Saratoga last year,” said trainer David Donk. “Then, her next race wasn’t so good and I couldn’t figure out why. We tried her twice on the grass, and she ran okay, but I wasn’t convinced that she still didn’t like dirt.
“When we gave her two turns and added distance, she broke her maiden here and then she came back and won the Busanda. That win validated her previous victory.”
Donk passed over Pumpkin Shell’s turf races, but it should be noted that in her second start on grass, she ran third to Maram in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo on a yielding course at Belmont Park. Maram came back from that race to win the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf at Santa Anita.
“She’s had some maturity issues, but I think she is over them,” said Donk, whi will again go with jockey C.C. “Chuckie” Lopez. “Obviously, Chuckie has done a great job with her when he’s ridden her. Sunday, we’re hoping that she steps up here and stamps herself as a filly with a strong future.”
Third in the Whistful, Edward P. Evans’ Subprime has been stalking and should appreciate the Busher distance. Richard Migliore is again aboard, and has ridden all but one of her four starts.
Coupled here are My Anguilla and Driven By Passion who are trained, respectively, by Bruce Levine and Tom Albertrani.
Kiss and Fly has performed well for trainer Bruce Brown since he claimed the Desert Warriror filly back in January.
Lillly of Paradise, trained by Dominick Schettino, has won two straight races after staring her career with six consecutive losses. She is also sired by Desert Warrior.
The field for Sunday’s 30th running of the $65,000-added Busher:
PP. HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WGT.
1. Subprime Jimmy Jerkens Richard Migliore 118
2. What a Pear Joseph Parker Channing Hill 122
3. Pumpkin Shell David Donk C.C. Lopez 122
4a. My Anguilla Bruce Levine Eddie Castro 118
5. Kiss and Fly Bruce Brown Jeffrey Sanchez 118
6. Lilly of Paradise Dominick Schettino Jorge Chavez 118
7a. Driven by Passion Thomas Albertrani Ramon Dominguez 118