10/13/2010 2:48PM

McAnally repeats John Henry's prep schedule with Eclair de Lune


Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally is using elements of his own history to have Eclair de Lune ready for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

In the winter of 1981-82, McAnally prepared the famous gelding John Henry for the Santa Anita Handicap in early March without a race since the preceding December. John Henry finished second in the Big Cap, but was promoted to first when Perrault was disqualified for interference.

Eclair de Lune is following a somewhat similar pattern. When she starts in the BC Filly and Mare Turf, it will be her first race since a career-defining win in the Grade 1 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park on Aug. 21.

“I’ve got to do it the John Henry way,” McAnally said.

Eclair de Lune, a 4-year-old filly owned by Richard Duchossois, could have started in an early October prep, but McAnally thinks she is best when racing after a break. He has worked her on turf each Sunday for the last three weeks at Hollywood Park, including seven furlongs in 1:29.80 last weekend. McAnally timed her in 49 seconds for the last half-mile.

“She didn’t get tired,” McAnally said. “I’ve got to have her fit.”

Eclair de Lune is the best America-based hope for the Filly and Mare Turf, which is led by defending champion Midday, a filly whom McAnally fears.
The field for the Filly and Mare Turf should be better known after this weekend, when the final two major prep races are run – the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine and the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup for 3-year-old fillies at Keeneland.