08/19/2009 11:00PM

Combining explosive personality, kick


DEL MAR, Calif. - Hameildaeme, the name of a good filly who runs in Saturday's Del Mar Oaks, is tough enough to pronounce, and it takes forever to type. Riding her, though, is a special challenge unto itself.

"She does have her quirks," trainer Jamie Lloyd said. "And when she does something wrong, there's not much underneath to hang onto."

"Little things can set her off," said her jockey, Danny Sorenson. "She's just a finicky little filly."

"Fortunately, she's pretty smart," Lloyd added. "I don't think she'd ever do anything stupid. She just takes it to the point of giving you heart failure."

Panic is never far beneath the surface of any Thoroughbred. They tend to wear their emotions on their sleeves. Hameildaeme put on quite a show in the minutes leading up to the San Clemente Handicap last time out, entertaining a festive crowd by appearing to run off toward the Pacific Ocean rather than going peacefully into the starting gate.

Sorenson, the fluster-proof veteran, was ready for anything.

"She's got a lit fuse all the time, and we didn't quite get to the gate before the bomb went off," the rider said. "She started to run backwards, away from the pony, then she wheeled and started to run the wrong direction. The outriders were trying to do their job by catching me, but I had to wave them off because that would have set them off worse.

"When the gate crew did get hold of her, she started in again," Sorenson went on. "So I stepped off her in hopes of changing her thought process. The gate crew got behind her with the buggy whip, but you never have to touch her. You just have to be there, kind of like a warning."

Hameildaeme, to her credit, has been pretty much all business once the gates open and the game is on. In the San Clemente, she was understandably slow to begin, but Sorenson was able to thread her through and around the field to finish with a rush. She was beaten less than two lengths by Starlarks and Strawberry Tart, and both of those fillies are back in the nine-furlong Oaks, along with Honeymoon Handicap winner Well Monied and the Irish filly Leslenos.

Hameildaeme is a daughter of Storming Home, best known for dropping Gary Stevens in the shadow of the wire when they were on the way to winning the 2003 Arlington Million. Stevens suffered a collapsed lung, among other things. His good friend Sorenson recalls it well.

"The horse hung a turn and airmailed Gary," Sorenson said. "But do they inherit that kind of thing? I don't know. There is a Fusiachi Pegasus baby right here at Del Mar that walked out on the racetrack, reared up in the air, lost his balance, and rolled over sideways, just like the sire used to do. Sometimes it is in the family."

Hameildaeme, who races for Jim Ford's Newmarket Stable, is Scottish for "home will do me." That is according to Lloyd, who learned his English in England.

"She was the first horse both bred and raced by a very nice Scottish lady named Lucille Bone," said Lloyd, who worked previously for Paddy Gallagher and Jim Cassidy. "I'd had my eye on her since the summer but couldn't find a buyer, then she came up at the sale last fall and we got her for $10,000. The lady cried when she realized her filly was leaving. I thought, obviously, this one's been well looked after."

Lloyd credits Sorenson and exercise rider David Meah for keeping the lid on Hameildaeme.

"You've got to sit on her as relaxed as if you're at the beach on Sunday, just to keep her turned off," Sorenson said. "At the same time, you're always prepared for what may happened. That's just the nature of the beast with a horse like her."

Lloyd traces a large amount of Hameildaeme's overly cautious behavior to a rainy morning at Hollywood Park last winter when she got loose at the three-eighths pole and tangled with the rail.

"She was already terrified, and then here comes an outrider wearing a yellow mack, galloping right toward her, which she'd never seen before," Lloyd said. "So she made a U-turn through the fence.

"I called Danny right away, before she even started working again," Lloyd added. "I told him I'd need him to come out to work her every week. He liked her a little more each time, then when we finally ran her I told him to just take his time, and if we can at least have her passing something at the end it will look pretty good. Danny looked at me and said, 'Oh, she'll run a lot better than that.' "

Hameildaeme won by a head, going 6 1/2 furlongs on the grass, at odds of 44-1. Since then she split Well Monied and Starlarks in an allowance race and won one of her own before her San Clemente experience.

Sorenson likes the scrapper in Hameildaeme, as long as she channels it wisely.

"She's tiny, but she doesn't run tiny," Sorenson said. "In fact, it's really abnormal and very deceptive. You sit on her back and you're on this seemingly little, tiny two-by-four of a horse. Then all of a sudden she starts taking strides like some big rangy thing.

"The way she's done things, I don't think the distance is a question at all," Sorenson added. "It's just a matter of getting her to the gate as calm as possible. I really think that if I can be within three or four lengths of the lead at the three-sixteenths pole, I think they have to out-sprint me home."