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Musical Chimes: Turf to dirt
ELMONT, N.Y. - Musical Chimes, a Grade 1 winner on turf, will try the dirt for the first time when she runs in the Grade 1, $300,000 Ruffian Handicap at Belmont Park Sept. 19, trainer Neil Drysdale said.
"She's by In Excess and her second dam is It's in the Air, so there's a lot of dirt in the family," Drysdale said Thursday from Hollywood Park. "We've been thinking about it ever since she arrived."
It's in the Air, who shared the 1978 juvenile filly championship with Candy Eclair, won the Ruffian as well as several other dirt stakes in 1979. In Excess was a multiple dirt stakes winner at Belmont and owns the track record for 1 1/4 miles (1:58.33).
Musical Chimes, bred and owned by Sheikh Maktoum's Gainsborough Farm, won the Grade 1 John C. Mabee Handicap on turf most impressively on July 24. She came back in the Beverly D. at Arlington Park last month and prompted the pace before finishing fourth, beaten one length.
A good performance by Musical Chimes in the Ruffian could make her a candidate for the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park on Oct. 30.
"That's a possibility," Drysdale said. "We'd have to monitor it and see how she does. If it doesn't work we could just go back to the turf."
Drysdale said that Kent Desormeaux would come to ride Musical Chimes.
Musical Chimes won't be the only California shipper coming for the Ruffian. Miss Loren, winner of the Clement L. Hirsch Handicap on Aug. 8, is also expected, according to stakes coordinator Andrew Byrnes. Star Parade, another Grade 1-winning mare based in California, also may come.
Sightseek, who is undefeated at Belmont Park, will be the favorite for the Ruffian. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he would consider running Roar Emotion or Class Above in the Ruffian if the field is short.
Evening Attire's next is Gold Cup
Evening Attire, who won the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap last month over Funny Cide, will be pointed to the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on Oct. 2 at Belmont Park.
Evening Attire's trainer, Pat Kelly, said he would like to keep the 6-year-old gelding running at 1 1/4 miles, the distance of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. After winning the 1 1/4-mile Saratoga Breeders' Cup, Kelly mentioned the $500,000 Meadowlands Cup, a 1 1/8-mile race on Oct. 8, as a possible spot for Evening Attire.
Evening Attire won the 2002 Jockey Club Gold Cup.
"He likes running all day long," Kelly said. "We gave him a little leg-stretcher on Monday before we shipped from Saratoga on Tuesday. He also had a couple of good gallops at Saratoga. He keeps himself fit."
On the same day as the Gold Cup, Pat Kelly could run Riskaverse in the Grade 1, $750,000 Flower Bowl Invitational. The $500,000 WinStar Galaxy at Keeneland on Oct. 10 is also possible for Riskaverse, Kelly said.
Riskaverse finished second in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park on Aug. 14, beaten a half-length by Crimson Palace.
"We'll follow the Flower Bowl and see how it comes up," said Kelly, who won the 1992 Flower Bowl with Christiecat. "I thought her Beverly D. was fantastic, especially since it was a little quick back after running in the Diana."
Riskaverse finished second to Wonder Again in the Grade 1 Diana, 15 days before the Beverly D.
Well Fancied almost ready
Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. would have loved to run Well Fancied in Belmont's opening-day feature, the General Douglas MacArthur Handicap, a race the 6-year-old New York-bred gelding won the last two years, but Well Fancied is still a few weeks away from a return to the track.
Well Fancied, who won the Grade 2 General George at Laurel in February, hasn't run since finishing eighth in the Grade 1 Carter in April. A knee injury has kept him on the sidelines since then.
Dutrow said Well Fancied would return to his Aqueduct barn from Kentucky in three weeks. He currently is under the care of Dr. Larry Bramlage at Kesmarc Equine Rehabilitation Center.
"He's been on the aqua-tread machine, and my boy should be back to me soon," Dutrow said.
Because Well Fancied doesn't care for Aqueduct's inner track, Dutrow said he would bring him to Florida during the winter.
Crimson Palace points to Flower Bowl
Crimson Palace, winner of the Beverly D., was part of a three-horse Godolphin Racing contingent that arrived at Belmont Park on Wednesday. Crimson Palace will be pointed to the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational here on Oct. 2 and a possible rematch with Riskaverse.
Crimson Palace arrived along with Hennie's Song and Maple Syrple. Hennie's Song, a 4-year-old filly, has finished last in two starts at Arlington Park, including last Saturday's Grade 3 Arlington Matron.
Maple Syrple, a 3-year-old filly who finished second to Ashado in the 2003 Schuylerville at Saratoga, finished last in Monday's Safely Kept Stakes at Arlington.
"We'll aim Crimson Palace to the Flower Bowl, the other two we don't know," said Rachel Dore, who is overseeing the Godolphin contingent here. "`We're waiting for the connections back home to make a decision. They're all very well; they shipped in good."
Love of Money Indiana-bound
Love of Money, who made a smashing stakes debut by winning Monday's Grade 3 Pennsylvania Derby by 8 1/2 lengths at Philadelphia Park, will make his next start in the $500,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park on Oct. 2, said Dutrow, who trains him.
"I don't see us making a bad move there," Dutrow said. "Hopefully, no one significant comes and we can have our way there again. It looks like he came out of the race good."
Love of Money had run only three times and never beyond seven furlongs before Monday's Pennsylvania Derby. Under Robby Albarado, Love of Money led gate to wire, covering 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.42. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 112.
The Indiana Derby is run at a 1 1/16 miles.
* Ending the annual speculation that the Saratoga meet will be extended, New York Racing Association officials said Thursday that the meet would remain six weeks next year. The 36-day meet will run from July 27 through Sept. 5.
- additional reporting by Karen M. Johnson