09/29/2016 1:10PM

American Cleopatra tries two turns in Chandelier

Benoit & Associates
American Cleopatra, a full sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, should appreciate the extra distance she will get in the Chandelier Stakes.

ARCADIA, Calif. – American Cleopatra will always be a focus of attention. The filly is a full sister to 2015 Triple Crown hero American Pharoah, and with that comes added scrutiny in each race.

American Cleopatra had a successful summer season at Del Mar, winning her debut and finishing second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3. Saturday, American Cleopatra faces a new test – her first start around two turns – in the $300,000 Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita.

Her performance may lead to a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here on Nov. 5. The winner of the Grade 1 Chandelier earns a fees-paid berth to the BC Juvenile Fillies through the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program.

If American Pharoah’s career offers any guidance, American Cleopatra should thrive around two turns. She is part of a field of 12 in the Chandelier that has three stakes winners – Champagne Room, who won the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar; With Honors, who won the Del Mar Juvenile Turf at a mile; and Bitzka, the winner of the Barretts Debutante at Los Alamitos.

Others are trying stakes for the first time, notably Zapperkat, the easy winner of a six-furlong maiden race at Del Mar on Aug. 20, and Princess Coco, who won a maiden race at a mile at Del Mar on Sept. 3.

Chandelier, Race 10


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American Cleopatra, by Pioneerof the Nile

Last 2 Beyers: 76-74

◗ Owned by Zayat Stables, American Cleopatra won her debut at 7-1 in a maiden race at 5 1/2 furlongs on July 31 and was second in the Del Mar Debutante at seven furlongs by 2 1/4 lengths to Union Strike as the 8-5 favorite. Union Strike was held out of the Chandelier because of sore shins. American Cleopatra led in the stretch of the Del Mar Debutante but could not keep pace with Union Strike in the final furlong.

◗ Trainer Bob Baffert expects American Cleopatra to excel around two turns but said Saturday’s race will offer proof one way or another.

“We’re all in the same boat,” he said. “Can she go two turns? I didn’t know if Pharoah could do it until he did it.”

◗ Baffert also runs Noted and Quoted, who beat maidens by 9 1/2 lengths at six furlongs on Aug. 7 but was only fourth in the Del Mar Debutante, finishing 5 3/4 lengths behind Union Strike.

Champagne Room, by Broken Vow

Last 3 Beyers: 76-78-69

◗ Mike Smith will ride Champagne Room for the first time, replacing Mario Gutierrez, who was aboard for the filly’s first three starts. Trainer Peter Eurton said the change was made after the loss in the Debutante at the request of the partnership that owns Champagne Room.

◗ The Chandelier distance appeals to Eurton, who is hoping Champagne Room can benefit from a race run at a steadier pace than a sprint.

“We’ve always thought she’d be a two-turn horse,” he said. “She always covers a lot of ground.”