10/02/2017 2:46PM

Hovdey: Enable and Co. make right kind of headlines

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Emily Shields
Paradise Woods makes short work of the Zenyatta Stakes field Saturday at Santa Anita.

Awakened Monday morning to the massacre in Las Vegas and the ongoing tragedy of Puerto Rico’s devastation. No place to run or hide. This is my country, our country. How dare we let these things happen. And now … horse racing!

If nothing else, there is comfort in these Thoroughbreds, and great privilege of association. Watch how Frankie Dettori embraced Enable as they return from their spectacular victory in the Arc de Triomphe. See how Tyler Baze reached up to stroke the powerful neck of Itsinthepost after he bravely hit a small hole to win the John Henry Turf Championship. And there, at the Richard Mandella barn, was owner Ramona Bass and her entourage still gathered at the airy pen of Avenge, long after her second straight triumph in the Rodeo Drive.

“What are they doing?” wondered Mandella, standing nearby with his wife, Randi.

“They’re watching her eat,” said Randi.

Sometimes that’s enough.

If it is true that the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man, woman, or child, then there was plenty of healing available last weekend. We take it where we can.

The Arc was transformative. Even at a remove of thousands of miles, thanks to the HD telecast provided by French racing, the viewer had to be swept up by the pageantry of the event and the fairy-tale setting of Chantilly. For Enable to have dismissed her opposition so comprehensively was, literally, like nothing seen before.

British broadcaster Nick Luck pointed out as much on the radio show “At the Races” Monday morning, telling host Steve Byk, “I think it’s a significant point, and I don’t think it’s an accident, that she becomes the first British- or Irish-trained 3-year-old filly to win the Arc.”

Enable gets to go grow her winter coat now, allowing the spotlight to shift to other members of her generation. It’s a cool crop.

Back in the Kentucky spring of 2014, there must have been something special in the wind or the water to the southeast of Lexington.

On April 7, at Hidden Brook Farm near Paris, the 8-year-old mare Wild Forest delivered her fifth foal, a bay filly by Union Rags. Three days later, a few miles up Route 627 at Claiborne Farm, the 5-year-old mare Cheery dropped her very first foal, a dark bay filly by Medaglia d’Oro.

Jump ahead about 3 1/2 years to last Saturday afternoon. At Belmont Park, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro faced older fillies and mares for the first time and left them spinning their wheels with an 8 1/2-length victory in the Beldame Stakes. Then, 20 minutes later at Santa Anita, the Union Rags filly led a small pack of helpless elders on a futile chase in the Zenyatta, winning by 5 1/4 lengths without taking a deep breath.

No one was surprised – the best 3-year-old fillies are inclined to beat the older generation this time of year (see Enable; Arc; wow) – but it was hard not to be impressed. Even though Elate in New York and Paradise Woods out West were not facing the cream of the older generation, their first steps away from sheltered divisional competition were significant. And in terms of a national championship, both Elate and Paradise Woods have a jump on fellow 3-year-olds like It Tiz Well and Abel Tasman, who will be thrown into the fire for the first time Nov. 3 at Del Mar in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

We’ve learned that letting the imagination soar over an exciting 2-year-old is a reliable recipe for heartbreak. A colt like Bolt d’Oro tosses such caution aside. His lopsided win in the FrontRunner at Santa Anita was the kind of result that even threw the Beyer Speed Figures into a tizzy. In fact, Bolt d’Oro’s “raw” number was so high that Andrew Beyer himself stepped in to adjust it downward, at the same time insisting that he will be the first to restore the lofty fig if the colt can do it again in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Thankfully, the Arc required no numeric validation, and like most great entertainments, Enable’s performance could be appreciated from more than one angle. For instance, third-place finisher Ulysses, dusted twice now by the filly, is heading for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and he should be the favorite.

But never mind his lines to Enable. Trainer Michael Stoute plays the Breeders’ Cup Turf like a violin. He has won the race with Pilsudski, Kalanisi, and Conduit twice, and on two of those occasions his horse came to the Breeders’ Cup from the Arc.

Americans have won the foreign-dominated Turf only three times in the last 10 years – with Main Sequence, Little Mike, and English Channel – but domestic fortunes have come to rely more and more on the grass horses trained by Chad Brown to have any shot at hitting the board.

To that end, it looks as if Beach Patrol has emerged as the Brown colt ready and willing to take on the best the Euros have to throw at Del Mar, where the mile and one-half Turf will be run around three tight turns. And if winning the Arlington Million and last Saturday’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic back to back is not enough in his favor, Beach Patrol was second over the course last December in the Hollywood Derby.

Also, his name is Beach Patrol. Del Mar. Duh.