Updated on 09/15/2011 2:16PM

Juv./Juv. Filly: Godolphin making an impact


ELMONT, N.Y. - While his horses have won more races and more money than last year, trainer Eoin Harty points to another statistic that demonstrates the progress Godolphin Racing Inc. is making with its North American 2-year-olds.

When pre-entries were announced Wednesday for the Oct. 27 World Thoroughbred Championships, a combined 22 horses were pre-entered for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies. Four, or 18 percent, of them are trained by Harty, the head trainer for Godolphin Racing's North American-based juveniles.

"That says something right there," Harty said. "But a victory would be great."

A victory in either the Juvenile or Juvenile Fillies is not out of the question. In the Juvenile, Harty will saddle both Essence of Dubai and Ibn Al Haitham. In the Juvenile Fillies, Harty has pre-entered Tempera and Imperial Gesture, although only Tempera is expected to run.

A Breeders' Cup victory would cap off a solid second season for Harty and Godolphin. It was only a year ago that Harty first brought over a group of 2-year-olds with the purpose of finding a Kentucky Derby contender for Godolphin owner Sheikh Mohammed. Harty was based in California last year, and the only horse who impressed him was E Dubai, who bucked shins in his second start and didn't come to hand until summer, when he won the Dwyer and was second in the Travers and Super Derby.

Last year, Harty won just seven races from 62 starters and had earnings of $567,264. This year, splitting his string between California and Arlington Park in Chicago, Harty has won 17 races - including three graded stakes - from 67 runners and has earnings of $945,776.

"Last year, it was a last-minute deal," said Harty, who noted that regular Godolphin agent John Ferguson did not pick out the horses to be sent to America. "This year, John Ferguson, his team, and myself picked out the horses we wanted. I think it's been successful."

The most successful of his 2-year-olds this year is Essence of Dubai, a son of Pulpit out of 1987 Juvenile Fillies winner Epitome. He brought $2.3 million at auction as a yearling. After winning his maiden first time out at Hollywood Park, Essence of Dubai finished third, 10 1/2 lengths behind Officer, in the Grade 3 Best Pal at Del Mar.

Harty believes that Essence of Dubai did not run his best in the Best Pal. Harty said he was playing around in the paddock and didn't seem to care for the Del Mar surface, "although I hate to use that as an excuse."

Harty had planned to run Essence of Dubai in the Futurity at Belmont on Sept. 15. But the race was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks in New York. Instead, Harty ran Essence of Dubai in the Norfolk at Santa Anita, in which he may have benefited from the scratch of morning-line favorite Came Home.

As bad as Essence of Dubai was in the Best Pal, that's how good he was in the Norfolk. He relaxed behind a slow pace, then came charging through a gaping hole along the inside in the stretch to win by three.

"His immaturity showed up in the Best Pal and his maturity showed up in the Norfolk," Harty said.

Ibn Al Haitham, a homebred son of Zafonic, was second in the Norfolk and remains a maiden after four starts. In the Norfolk, he was floated extremely wide turning for home, made the lead inside the eighth pole, but could not hold off Essence of Dubai.

"He's not a maiden due to a lack of talent," Harty said. "He showed a lot of talent. He's always run his race for me, he's been very genuine. Whether he's ready to take on Officer is another thing."

Harty has tremendous respect for Officer, the undefeated Champagne winner trained by Harty's former boss, Bob Baffert.

"Anybody who's seen Officer knows there is no better 2-year-old in the country," Harty said. "It'd be asinine to argue with that. The only way I can beat Officer, I believe, is if the real Officer does not show up."

Tempera top filly

Harty's better chance to succeed on Breeders' Cup Day could be in the Juvenile Fillies with Tempera, a daughter of A.P. Indy out of the Mr. Prospector mare Colour Chart. A nine-length winner of the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 4, Tempera finished third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante on Aug. 26. Harty said he may have run her back too quickly.

"She got very rattled in the post parade, she was in season, and I felt I had done too much with her," Harty said.

Harty opted to back off Tempera, and decided to point her straight to the Breeders' Cup. He also changed Tempera's training. In an effort to slow her down in the mornings, Harty had jockey David Flores work her in a controlled manner. Her last three workouts, including a five-furlong move in 1:03 on Sept. 26 and a six-furlong move in 1:12.80 on Tuesday, have not been bullets.

"He's got her really relaxed," Harty said. "If she's too relaxed, I don't know. But these are the decisions I'm going to have to live and die with. If she gets beat or if she comes up short it's going to be my fault."

Earlier this year, Harty made headlines when he predicted E Dubai would win an allowance race by five lengths. He won by 12. On Thursday, Harty was not prepared to offer any guarantees.

"I know my filly is a very good filly," Harty said of Tempera. "`If she runs the race she ran in the Sorrento, she's going to be right there. I'm not predicting we're going to win, but she'll be around at the end."

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