She’ll be making her first start since the Grade 1 $1 million Kentucky Oaks as well as her initial effort for a new barn, and trainer Bret Calhoun expects that he’s found a gem of a spot for Jemima’s Pearl in Saturday’s Grade 3 $100,000 Monmouth Oaks.
The Kentucky-bred 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor was saddled by Bob Baffert in her three 2012 starts, which include a third place finish in the Grade 2 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park last April. She was one of two fillies owned by Gillian Campbell, R Group Management and Greenwood Lodge Farm who ran in the Kentucky Oaks and Calhoun trained the other, the fourth place finisher Summer Applause.
“The owners decided to send her where she’d have a few more opportunities,” Calhoun explained. “They sent her here with this race in mind. I’ve only had her for a couple of weeks. She was flown from Southern California to my barn in Lexington and then was vanned here just recently.”
Jemima’s Pearl, who had five races in Ireland as a Juvenile, has been training in Southern California and over the synthetic track at Del Mar of late, but she has taken to her new surroundings. She tuned up for the Monmouth Oaks with a bullet three-furlong breeze of :35.60 over the track last Sunday .
“I was a little worried about the climate change. She was sweating when she got here but she has acclimated very well and has a lot of energy,” said Calhoun. “She’s only had that one work over the track but I look forward to her running a good race on Saturday.”
Jemima’s Pearl drew the outside post in the six-horse field for the 1 1/6 miles race on the main track and picks up the services of leading rider Elvis Trujillo. Wine Princess, Proud Perak, Defy Gravity, Final Escrow and Morrow Cove are her competition.
Last time out on July 15, Morrow Cove was an impressive 4 ¾ length winner of the $75,000 Serena’s Song Stakes and now she comes back looking for her first graded stakes win.
“Hopefully, she can duplicate that last performance,” said Anthony Sciametta, the assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “She’s been training great and breezed good (also on Aug. 5). She’s an easy keeper. She’s very well behaved and she likes to train.”
HERMOSILLO TRIES THE GRASS FOR FIRST TIME
Hermosillo did enough on the main track to win New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year honors in 2011 and now the eight-year-old gelding will give the turf a try for the first time. Trainer Stephen DiMauro has entered him in Friday’s $46,000 allowance optional claiming feature.
“He’s never run on grass before, but it’s worth a try,” said assistant trainer Nick Galati. “If he doesn’t like it, that’s okay.”
Hermosillo, who is owned by Kenwood Racing LLC and was bred by Eddie Broome, has earned that right. In 64 career starts, he has won 11 times and brought home checks totaling $636,811. In addition to the state breeding program honors he’s captured, he’s also a model for a line of horse blankets.
“He knows what the story is and when it’s time to go to work. The only thing he doesn’t know is how old he is. He looks like a million bucks. He’s a star and he knows it,” said Galati. “He loves to be fussed over and is still a very kind horse, but he’s tough coming off the track in the mornings.”
While the racing surface may be new to him, the 1 1/16 miles distance of the race should be right in his wheelhouse. During a three-race win streak here last season, he won two races, including the $100,000 Charles Hesse III Handicap, at that distance.
WALDER HAPPY FOR HIS MENTOR ROGER ATTFIELD
When trainer Roger Attfield is enshrined in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York on Friday morning, Peter Walder will be one of those cheering loudest.
Walder, who trains a string of horses at Monmouth Park, formerly worked as Attfield’s assistant in Canada.
“I am thrilled for him and there isn’t anybody who deserves this recognition more,” said Walder, who trained the now-retired Force Freeze to a second place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint last year. “Roger is all class.”
Attfield will become one of only three trainers to be inducted into both the American and Canadian Halls of Fame. Winning Canada’s prestigious Queen’s Plate eight times and training three Canadian Triple Crown winners are among his long list of lofty accomplishments. He won his first Breeders’ Cup last year when Lady Shirl was the upset winner of the Filly & Mare Turf.
“We had great horses in the ban,” said Walder, who is not able to attend the ceremony. “And look at the assistant trainers who came out of his barn and went on to be successful on their own. There’s Danny Keough, and plenty of others besides me.”