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Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint: Dust and Diamonds joins division leaders
By Dave Litfin
Although she had no prior experience in graded stakes, Dust and Diamonds ran herself into a contender’s role for the Filly and Mare Sprint by winning last Saturday’s Gallant Bloom Handicap in stakes-record time at Belmont Park, leaving in her wake Judy the Beauty, a 3-year-old who was coming off a heart-breaking nose loss in the Prioress; Musical Romance, the defending Filly and Mare Sprint winner and champion female sprinter of 2011; and Turbulent Descent, last year’s Filly and Mare Sprint favorite who was coming off a win in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, Dust and Diamonds was flown to California two days after her scintillating 6 1/2-furlong score in 1:14.71 that bested Indian Blessing’s 1:15.29 clocking in the 2009 renewal.
“The only time I rode her [last November], we went very fast and we were pressed all the way,” jockey Julien Leparoux said. “We got a pretty easy race, and nobody really bothered us.”
Dust and Diamonds, a Padua Stable homebred, earned a fees-paid berth in the Filly and Mare Sprint, as the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom was a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Win and You’re In race.
Trainer Bill Kaplan expressed optimism over Musical Romance’s third-place finish, as it was her first start since a hard-fought victory in the Princess Rooney Handicap on July 7. She will do most of her training back home at Calder. Along with Dust and Diamonds, she has been consigned to the Fasig-Tipton November mixed sale shortly after the Breeders’ Cup.
Turbulent Descent flattened out to finish fourth in the Gallant Bloom, victimized by a speed-biased surface that was producing supersonic times.
“Our biggest concern was the track seems to have been super-fast since we’ve come back,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I wouldn’t know if she likes the track this firm. It seems to be kind of speed-favoring, and she got further back than we had hoped. We’ll regroup.”
Groupie Doll, who has assumed leadership of the division after wins in the Madison, Humana Distaff, and Presque Isle Masters, breezed a half-mile Saturday in 48.80 seconds at Churchill Downs for trainer William “Buff” Bradley, in preparation for a start in Keeneland’s Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes next Saturday, Oct. 6. The TCA is the fourth and final Win And You’re In event, along with the A Gleam, Ballerina, and Gallant Bloom.
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