Updated on 05/26/2016 2:39PM

Enola Gray tries to harness speed in Melair

Benoit & Associates
Enola Gray earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in her debut in April.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Someday it might be fair to compare Enola Gray to the undefeated champion Songbird or Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia. But after only one start, the only attribute Enola Gray shares with those fillies is a lofty speed figure.

The April 10 debut romp by Enola Gray, a sprint she won by more than 16 lengths, earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure, which matches Songbird’s career top and is a point higher than Cathryn Sophia’s best. The question facing Enola Gray on Saturday at Santa Anita: Can she do it again, this time around two turns?

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Enola Gray will try to stretch her speed to 1 1/16 miles in the $200,000 Melair Stakes for California-bred 3-year-old fillies, race 4 on the five-stakes California Gold Rush card. Trainer Phil D’Amato has no concerns regarding distance following Enola Gray’s six-furlong breeze May 17.

“She breezed three-quarters in [1:12] and change and galloped out strong,” he said. “She did it the right way.”

Enola Gray faces five rivals in the Melair. Her only pace adversary is the D’Amato-trained Shy Carmelita, and her 22-, 45-second sprint speed pales in comparison with the splits set by Enola Gray. She went in 21.71 and 44.19 and won under a hold.

Enola Gray and jockey Tyler Baze break from the rail Saturday and should be loose on the lead. Santa Anita linemaker Jon White tabbed Enola Gray as the 2-5 favorite facing Shy Carmelita and four who exit the Campanile Stakes on turf at Golden Gate – winner Cheekaboo, The Spiral Jetter (fourth), Hacktivism (sixth), and Allsquare (seventh).


Enola Gray, by Grazen

Beyer: 99

◗ Her debut figure is the year’s second-fastest by a 3-year-old filly. Lightstream earned a 103 in her March 6 debut at Gulfstream Park.

◗ Nick Alexander bred and owns Enola Gray, who scratched from a May 7 allowance won by her stablemate Shy Carmelita.

◗ D’Amato believes Enola Gray does not necessarily need the lead. “If they do something stupid, she can sit off; she’s so kind,” he said. “I’ve had her in drills where she is behind. She can do it in the morning.”

Cheekaboo, by Unusual Heat

Last 3 Beyers: 75-58-68

◗ Trainer Pete Eurton considered running her on turf against males in the Snow Chief Stakes, race 5, but opted for the filly dirt race.

◗ Prior to winning the turf stakes last out, Cheekaboo finished fifth in a Santa Anita main-track allowance. “She wasn’t training as well as she is right now,” Eurton said.

◗ Rafael Bejarano rides.

The Spiral Jetter, by Don’tsellmeshort

Last 3 Beyers: 71-71-56

◗ Her fourth last out on turf was commendable considering that she is not bred for turf. The Melair will be her first start on dirt; her four previous starts were on synthetic.

◗ Andy Mathis trains, and Santiago Gonzalez rides.