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Updated on 10/12/2012 1:04PM
Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic: Grace Hall added to already-deep field
By Brad Free
Grace Hall needed a big performance to justify returning to the big stage. She delivered at Hoosier Park.
A romping victory Oct. 6 in the Grade 2 Indiana Oaks marked a welcome rebound for Grace Hall in her first start since finishing nowhere as the even-money favorite Aug. 18 in the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga.
Trainer Tony Dutrow can now look to the West.
“We’re hoping to get to the Breeders’ Cup, that’s what we humans are thinking,” Dutrow said Wednesday. “But Grace Hall will have a say. If we’re seeing the same Grace Hall that we are accustomed to seeing, then we’re going to California.”
Grace Hall joins an outstanding field of seven runners expected for the Ladies’ Classic. All seven are Grade 1 winners, including three Eclipse winners – Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly of 2011, along with undefeated Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia, champion juvenile fillies of 2010 and 2011, respectively.
Questing, Love and Pride, Include Me Out, and Grace Hall complete the probable field. Two additional Grade 1 winners will cross-enter – In Lingerie in the Filly and Mare Turf and It’s Tricky in the Filly and Mare Sprint. While a final decision is on hold, In Lingerie and It’s Tricky are likely to run in the other races.
In Lingerie won the Oct. 7 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, which is a Win and You’re In race for the Ladies’ Classic. However, trainer Todd Pletcher already has targeted the Ladies’ Classic with Love and Pride and could redirect In Lingerie to the grass race.
Although In Lingerie has never started on grass, Pletcher does not see surface as an issue for the Empire Maker filly.
“She’s versatile, handles dirt and synthetic, and makes you think she’ll handle turf,” he said.
Love and Pride was ridden to victory by Martin Garcia in the Zenyatta Stakes; John Velazquez rode her to victory in the Personal Ensign and would likely regain the mount for the Ladies’ Classic if In Lingerie runs on turf. Riding assignments are unconfirmed.
As for Grace Hall, she is no stranger to the big time. She won the Grade 1 Spinaway and was second in the BC Juvenile Fillies, and this year finished third as the Kentucky Oaks favorite. After a facile win in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks, Dutrow sent her to Saratoga for a showdown with Questing and In Lingerie in the Alabama. Grace Hall bombed at even-money.
“I don’t know what happened that day at Saratoga,” Dutrow said. “With respect to the quality of the field, it was not her.”
Grace Hall was done on the far turn and finished fifth, while Questing won by nine lengths.
Grace Hall needed a confidence builder and got it. Dropping in class for the Indiana Oaks, she won by a 5 3/4 lengths while earning a 103 Beyer Speed Figure as the 9-10 favorite. Grace Hall returned Sunday to Delaware, where she will train up to the Breeders’ Cup.
Brian Hernandez rode Grace Hall at Hoosier; she also has been ridden to graded stakes wins by Javier Castellano and Ramon Dominguez.
Dutrow expected one of those three would ride in the Breeders’ Cup, but no decision has been made.
◗ Trainer Bill Mott said Royal Delta will breeze this weekend at Belmont Park, where her Sept. 29 romp in the Grade 1 Beldame stamped her as the Ladies’ Classic favorite.
◗ My Miss Aurelia had her first breeze at Santa Anita on Oct. 7, an easy five furlongs in 1:03.20.
◗ Awesome Feather worked a bullet half-mile at Belmont on Oct. 7 in 47.60, breezing.
That is one awesome filly line up. It's def an exciting BC coming up for all the ladies. I'm especially looking forward to the Questing-MMA rematch. You go girls!!
Grace Hall is no where near this caliper. This race could very well ruin her. Remember - you heard it here first. Nothig can ruin a horse on the track worse than putting them in above their head this much.
ROYAL DELTA...........AWESOME FEATHER.......i believe these two horses are enough ! i'll put in a third choice if budget allows........my pacesetter.......LOVE AND PRIDE !!!
Awesome Feather is far better than she is being given credit for. Hard to imagine(undefeated) but she is a superstar of immense proportions(ala Frankel). I know many disagree. But she is a standout single in what will be a great race to watcch. If I'm wrong I'm wrong...so be it. But I know where my money will be.
This could well be the best race of this year's BC.
Best race of the day. Cant wait.
Although I feel like Royal Delta should be pointed towards the Classic this year, I'm happy to hear that if she stays healthy, she'll be pointed towards it next year. She'll trounce this field. Her biggest threats are It's Tricky and Awesome Feather, but she's in really great form right now. I can't see her losing this race unless she gets a horrendous trip.
They should flip and put the Classic on Friday and run this race last on Saturday.
Very deep field for the Ladies Classic. Who can beat Royal Delta on her best day? Awesome Feather is the biggest threat.
Might be the best Distaff ever.
- 1.Posted 12/05/2013 01:44PM
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