01/19/2012 4:12PM

Fair Grounds: Applauding out to settle distance question in Silverbulletday Stakes

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Applauding will try to stretch her speed to two turns in Saturday's Silverbulletday Stakes at Fair Grounds.

NEW ORLEANS – So far, Applauding has heard nothing but cheers. She won her career debut last fall at Keeneland by eight lengths, setting a six-furlong Polytrack record in the process. On Dec. 2 at Fair Grounds, five overmatched foes were left floundering in her wake, with Applauding home by six lengths without being asked to run. Both those races, though, were sprints that played to Applauding’s brilliance, and on Saturday, Applauding will either take a step toward the Fair Grounds Oaks or tell to her connections, owner Ramona Bass and trainer Al Stall, to mark their 2012 calendar with one-turn races.

Applauding is one of six horses entered in the $125,000 Silverbulletday, contested over one mile and 70 yards on dirt. The field is short, but there are plausible alternatives should the heavy favorite falter, particularly Summer Applause and Always Here Too.

Applauding’s great early speed combined with a pedigree slanted toward sprints and middle distances make even her connections wonder about the two-turn question. In her favor are her disposition – which by all accounts is excellent both in and out of races – and the possibility Applauding might simply be significantly more talented than her Silverbulletday opponents.

With Shane Sellers named to ride for the second time, Applauding drew post 5, outside the other horse who might head to the lead, Believe You Can. Believe You Can won the Tempted Stakes over six furlongs on Oct. 2 at Belmont and faded to sixth after making a middle move in the Oct. 30 Pocahontas, a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs, but trainer Larry Jones thinks Believe You Can will stay two turns.

“She made her little move and just got tired last time, but I don’t think there’s any doubt that she’ll run long,” Jones said.

Trainer Tom Amoss has similar thoughts about Always Here Too, whose two victories came in sprint races and who finished an even third last fall in the Blue Hen Stakes, her only route start.

“She’s yet to prove she can go two turns, but we strongly think she can,” Amoss said.

Summer Applause already has shown she can run long. A Polytrack maiden winner Dec. 3 at Woodbine, Summer Applause dominated a two-turn allowance race – her first start on dirt – Dec. 31 at Fair Grounds, leading to a subsequent private purchase, with trainer Bret Calhoun taking over the filly’s training. Summer Applause led throughout her allowance win, but she showed her new connections in a sharp Jan. 14 workout that she can finish strongly, and if Applauding cannot carry her speed, the clapping this time might be for Summer Applause.

Silverbulletday S., Post Time: 2:28 ET Saturday

Purse: $125,000; 1 mile 70 yards

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Yvete Sangalo (MEX)

K. Craddock

S. Bridgemohan

12-1

1

Inny Minnie

S. Margolis

J. Velazquez

8-1

1

Always Here Too

T. Amoss

J. Graham

12-1

1

Believe You Can

J. Jones

R. Napravnik

4-1

1

Applauding

A. Stall, Jr.

S. Sellers

4-5

1

Summer Applause

W. Calhoun

R. Albarado

7-2