“Being the first one back, I was happy with her work,” trainer Bill Kaplan said. “And you’ll see her on the work tab regularly now.”
“The transportation fell apart,” Kaplan explained of his need to alter course with the mare. “Last year, when we were thinking of going up there to run (in the Ballerina), FedEx had a flight directly to New Jersey and we could van from there. This year, we would have had to go through Memphis, have a long layover there, and then on to New Jersey for a van ride to Saratoga, which I thought was too much to ask of her.
“And we’ve run into similar problems with the Presque Isle race. Last year we went to Indianapolis where there was a short layover and then on to Pittsburgh, which wasn’t a big deal. But this year we’d have to go to Memphis, then Indianapolis, and then Pittsburgh. So we’ll pass that race as well.”
With those options sufficiently closed, Kaplan doesn’t rule out the possibility of training the mare up to her title defense in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on November 2, although the veteran trainer suggested he may turn his attention to the local condition book in hopes of finding his champion a prep race.
“It’s possible that we’ll just train her up to the Breeders’ Cup, although it’s also possible that an overnight stake will come up here that we could run her in,” Kaplan said. “That way we could let the local fans see her one more time. There’s also a race in New York (Grade 2 Gallant Bloom) on September 22. But again, the travel situation would have to change in order for us to make that race.”
While Musical Romance is the established star in the Kaplan barn, an emerging hopeful is recent Florida Stallion Stakes Susan’s Girl Division heroine Putyourdreamsaway, who was a commanding 7 ½-length winner of that seven-furlong race last Saturday.
“She came back excellent,” Kaplan said of the 2-year-old filly. “Everything I’ve done with her so far has been to get her ready for the two-turn race (the $300,000-estimaed My Dear Girl run at 1 1/16 miles on October 13), so I don’t think it will be a problem at all.”
SURGERY NEEDED FOR GONZALES
According to agent Marcelo Castro, apprentice rider Jonathan Gonzales, third in the Calder jockey standings, fractured his collarbone in Saturday’s Stallion Stakes spill aboard Anita’s Comprise and will undergo surgery in the upcoming days.
“He’ll be out about three months,” Castro said. “He’s a tough kid. He’s still in a little pain, but not much.
“He wanted to go gallop horses with one arm today, and he told me he’ll be riding races again in a month,” Castro said with a laugh. “But we’ll take our time and make sure he is as good as new before he comes back.”
Gonzales won 57 races at the soon-to-be-concluded Calder Meet, 11 more than his nearest pursuer Juan Leyva and eight shy of second leading rider Joe Rodriguez.
CHRISTMAS FOR LIAM ENTERED IN FRIDAY FEATURE
Acquired through private purchase in December 2011, and having not raced since a third-place finish in $75,000 Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth Park in May of that year, Frank C. Calabrese’s Christmas for Liam was entered in Friday’s eighth-race optional claiming turf allowance where the son of Saint Liam is scheduled to make his turf debut while wearing a $25,000 price tag.
“With good horses, when they run and train fast, they tend to have little problems that come up from time to time,” Ziadie said in reference to Christmas for Liam’s extended absence from the races. “He’s had some minor problems, but we feel he’s over those.”
Christmas for Liam was with trainer Nick Canani at Gulfstream Park this past winter where he recorded seven published workouts, his last coming on February 13. Since shipping to Ziadie on July 12, Christmas for Liam has posted two official works, breezing five furlongs in 1:03 on July 27 before returning with a six-furlong move in 1:16 on August 3.
Those that followed the Gulfstream Park meet in 2011 are likely to remember Christmas for Liam winning two allowance races at that meet by a combined 11 ¼ lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher. From there, the colt was shipped north for the Grade 3 Westchester, where he finished fifth, in advance of his Skip Away appearance.