01/05/2012 1:58PM

2011 Eclipse Awards: Plum Pretty

Email

Plum Pretty began 2011 with back-to-back third-place finishes in graded races at her home track of Santa Anita. Not bad, but certainly not great. But after her Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, sent her to New Mexico for a 25-length romp in the Sunland Park Oaks as a 1-20 favorite in late March, she was a brand new filly.

Indeed, all Plum Pretty did in her next start was capture the Kentucky Oaks, arguably the most coveted American race for a 3-year-old filly. “This filly has really come around,” Baffert said after Plum Pretty held on to defeat a late-closing St. John’s River by a neck in the 137th Oaks at Churchill Downs.

After the Oaks, Plum Pretty remained competitive at the highest levels of the division. Always eager to flaunt her considerable speed, she finished second in the Grade 2 Hollywood Oaks, second in the Grade  1 Coaching Club American Oaks, and fourth in the Grade 1 Alabama. Then, after returning to California to train, she put in another breakout race when blowing away her Coaching Club conqueror, It’s Tricky, with a 7 1/2-length score in the Cotillion at Parx Racing.

[MORE: Complete list of 2011 Eclipse Awards finalists | Vote for Horse of the Year and win]

“When I got her back here, all of a sudden she turned a corner again,” Baffert said from California after the Cotillion.

Plum Pretty trained at Santa Anita before returning to Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, which shaped up as a pivotal match for divisional honors. After going clear on what appeared to be a relaxed lead, Plum Pretty faded to finish fifth, beaten six lengths, behind victorious Royal Delta in the 1 1/8-mile Ladies Classic.

“When they came around the turn I thought we were in great shape,” said Baffert. “I was preparing my speech.”

Martin Garcia rode Plum Pretty in six of her 2011 races, including the Oaks, while Rafael Bejarano was aboard for her other three races, including the Cotillion and Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Winning the Kentucky Oaks has been the ticket for a divisional Eclipse Award in recent seasons. Seven of the last nine Oaks winners, including each of the last four – Rags to Riches (2007), Proud Spell (’08), Rachel Alexandra (’09), and Blind Luck (’10) – all were voted the Eclipse for best 3-year-old filly.

Owned by the Peachtree Stable of John Fort, Plum Pretty was bred in Pennsylvania by the Silent Indy Stables and DDS Stables. She is by Medaglia d’Oro, the sire of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, and was produced by Liszy, by A.P. Indy. She won 3 of 9 starts for earnings of $1,333,900 in 2011. Plum Pretty is scheduled to race at 4. Baffert said in late December that he had given the filly 30 days off and that she had recently returned to light training at Santa Anita. “She looks great,” he said, adding that he had not yet designated a particular race as a starting point.

Baffert was the trainer of one previous 3-year-old filly champion, Silverbulletday, the 1999 Kentucky Oaks winner.

Date Track Race Finish Chart Distance Time Beyers Video
11/4/11 CD Breeders Cup Ladies' Classic 5th 1 1/8 mile 1:50.78 94 Video
10/01/11 PRX Cotillion 1st 1 1/16 mile 1:41.19 108 Video
8/20/11 SAR Alabama 4th 1 1/2 mile 2:03.00 83 Video
7/23/11 SAR CCA Oaks 2nd 1 1/8 mile 1:49.00 96 Video
6/25/11 HOL Hollywood Oaks 2nd 1 1/16 mile 1:43.20 93 Video
5/6/11 CD Kentucky Oaks 1st 1 1/8 Mile 1:49.20 95 Video

Plum Pretty

Breeder: Silent Indy Stables, LLC & DDS Stables 
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Peachtree Stable
Record: 8-3-2-2
Best Beyer: 99

t