09/21/2011 4:16PM

Belmont Park: Tar Heel Mom to audition for Breeders' Cup in Gallant Bloom Handicap

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Tom Keyser
Tar Heel Mom will prep for a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Tar Heel Mom could be running for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint when she heads a field of seven entered in Saturday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park.

Tar Heel Mom will most likely be retired at the conclusion of the year, so her connections – trainer Stanley Hough and owner Alex Rankin – may seek a grand finale, provided Tar Heel Mom runs well in the Gallant Bloom at 6 1/2 furlongs.

“If she runs well, we would probably look at the Breeder’s Cup,” Hough said Wednesday afternoon. “Just because it would be in all probability her last race. If there’s something else out there, I don’t know of it; I don’t think we have anything in New York.”

Tar Heel Mom has been extremely consistent throughout her career, winning 11 of 29 starts and finishing in the money 13 additional times. She is an eight-time stakes winner, including a 5 3/4-length score in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss at Saratoga on Aug. 7.

Following the Honorable Miss, Tar Heel Mom finished second to Hilda’s Passion in the Grade 1 Ballerina. While no one was going to beat Hilda’s Passion that day, Tar Heel Mom did well to finish second after stumbling badly at the start.

“I was happy with that,” Hough said. “Seven-eighths is not really her game, but she held up pretty gamely for second. That [stumble] took her out of style of running.”

Hough said Tar Heel Mom came out of the Ballerina in good order and has worked well twice at Belmont. Alex Solis will ride Tar Heel Mom, the 120-pound highweight, from the rail.

“That’s the only thing I didn’t want to see,” Hough said about the rail draw. “She always runs hard. I’m sure she’ll run hard again.”

The Gallant Bloom field includes Test runner-up Pomeroys Pistol, Vagrancy winner Tamarind Hall, Moontune Missy, Buckleupbuttercup, Lively Lil, and Katy Now.

Plans for Unbridled Humor, Shared Account

Trainer Graham Motion was obviously pleased with Unbridled Humor’s victory in Sunday’s Noble Damsel at Belmot and wasn’t as disappointed as one might think in Shared Account’s sixth-place finish in the Canadian at Woodbine.

Motion said Wednesday that Unbridled Humor, who won the Noble Damsel by 1 3/4 lengths Sunday, would be pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Athenia Stakes here Oct. 15. Meanwhile, Motion said that Shared Account would be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 4 at Churchill. Shared Account won last year’s BC Filly and Mare Turf at odds of 46-1.

“I don’t think she ran a bad race,” Motion said about Shared Account, who was beaten 3 1/2 lengths while finishing sixth behind Never Retreat. “She ran like a horse that needed a race. As much as you train them, you can’t make up for having a race.”

Shared Account has only raced twice this year, finishing fourth in the Gallorette in May before the Canadian.

Meanwhile, Motion was happy to see Unbridled Humor bounce back from her seventh-place finish in the Diana with her score in the Noble Damsel in which she ran a mile in 1:34.09 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92

“Very impressive,” Motion said. “I thought the race was very fast, and she did it very easily.”

Alpha works toward Champagne

Alpha, a six-length debut winner at Saratoga, worked four furlongs in 49.53 seconds over the Belmont Park training track in preparation for a start in the Grade 1 Champagne here Oct 8.

Alpha worked head-and-head and inside of the 5-year-old multiple graded stakes winner Redding Colliery.

“We called an audible because of the weather,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who moved the work up from the weekend fearing a wet surface. “It’s been a few weeks since he ran, so we wanted to get a work into him. He worked well.”

Redding Colliery, who won the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup last year, has not run since finishing third – placed second via disqualification – in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs last November.

“We stopped on him, gave him a proper holiday, and it’s just taken a little longer to get him going,” McLaughlin said. “We had a few minor things here and there; he’s getting closer.”

Asmussen stable comes south

Trainer Steve Asmussen has shipped his Saratoga string down to Belmont Park a little earlier than usual. The contingent that arrived earlier in the week includes My Miss Aurelia, the Adirondack winner who is being pointed to the Grade 1 Frizette here Oct. 8.

Seeker, a son of Hard Spun who won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 6 1/2 lengths on closing day, also came down from Saratoga. He is being pointed to the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua Stakes on Oct. 2. The Nashua, previously run at a mile at Aqueduct, has been shortened to six furlongs this year. Asmussen also is pointing She Digs Me, the Tyro and Sapling winner, to the Nashua, according to assistant trainer Scott Blasi.

Dominus, who won the Grade 2 Dwyer here in July before running third in the Jim Dandy and fourth in the King’s Bishop, also is at Belmont. He is nominated to the Grade 2, $200,000 Kelso Stakes, but it has not yet been determined if he would run in that spot.

“We don’t know yet,” Blasi said.