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Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint: Chamberlain Bridge doesn't appear to be good fit for Santa Anita's course
By Kenny Peck
This weekend, Chamberlain Bridge will run in Keeneland’s Woodford Stakes, a race that, for some, will serve as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. For Chamberlain Bridge, however, a trip to Santa Anita may not be in the cards, regardless of his effort on Saturday.
Chamberlain Bridge, who has won 17 races and earned more than $1.8 million on the grass during his career, certainly has the credentials to be a factor in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. But, this year, the race will be contested at 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill grass course at Santa Anita, a unique and challenging configuration that is much different than what Chamberlain Bridge, who specializes in five- and 5 1/2-furlong races, is accustomed to in his races.
“He’s a little quirky,” said his trainer, Bret Calhoun, “and I’m not quite sure the distance or the downhill course suit him well. If this were a normal, conventional type of race we’d definitely be in it, but going downhill at 6 1/2 furlongs may not be what he wants to do. We’ll run him in this race this weekend, hopefully make him go forward, and we’ll see how it goes. As it stands right now, though, I’d have to say he’s doubtful for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Chamberlain Bridge came up just short in his most recent try, the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx, finishing a head behind Ben’s Cat over a soft grass course. That race is a Breeders’ Cup Win And You’re In qualifier – the winner is automatically entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with all entry fees are covered, and the connections receive a $10,000 travel stipend.
“I think the owners would have been more for it if he won that race,” said Calhoun. “He’s run well last three of four races back on top of his game. He enjoys what he’s doing, and he’s still sound, but to tell you the truth, I don’t know if the [Turf Sprint] suits him.”
Unbridled’s Note emerges
He has raced only seven times, and only been on the turf once, but Unbridled’s Note stamped himself a contender for the Turf Sprint with a sharp score in the Grade 3, $100,000 Eddie D Stakes last Friday at Santa Anita.
Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, told DRF’ s Steve Andersen, “I like what I saw. It was a dominating performance.”
The Eddie D, also run over the downhill course and at the same 6 1/2-furlong distance as the Turf Sprint, was the first stakes win for Unbridled’s Note, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.
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