09/29/2010 4:40PM

Tell a Kelly could cap a banner year for Thrashes

Benoit & Associates
Tell a Kelly, winner of the Grade 1 Debutante at Del Mar, will make her next start in Sunday’s Oak Leaf Stakes at Hollywood Park.

Ike and Dawn Thrash have never had a better year on the racetrack in 25 years of horse ownership. Line of David won the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby for the Hattiesburg, Miss., couple in April. Hurricane Ike romped in the Grade 3 Derby Trial a few weeks later, and Tell a Kelly spent the summer establishing herself as arguably the top 2-year-old filly in North America.

“By far, this is our best year ever on the track,” Ike Thrash said.

And things could get even sweeter this weekend. Tell a Kelly on Sunday will be seeking her second straight Grade 1 win in the $250,000 Oak Leaf at Hollywood Park. It’s a key race for her because the Thrashes will have to decide whether to put up $100,000 to make Tell a Kelly eligible for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

“If she runs the way she ran her last two races, I’d say we’d most likely put up the extra money,” Thrash said.

Tell a Kelly, who is trained by John Sadler, won her maiden in her second career start this past August at Del Mar. She closed from last to win going away, while covering six furlongs in 1:10.40. One start later, Tell a Kelly dominated the Grade 1 Debutante, also at Del Mar, closing from next to last in the seven-furlong race to earn a Beyer Figure of 86.

“She looked like she was just reaching top speed as they got to the end of the race, so I would think she’d stretch out,” Thrash said. “She’s bred to. I guess we’ll find out this weekend.”

Tell a Kelly is a daughter of Tapit. The Thrashes bought her privately this spring in Florida for $120,000. Tapit was Breeders’ Cup-nominated, but Tell a Kelly was not nominated as a foal. Tell a Kelly, like many Thrash-owned horses, has a family-inspired name.\

“Kelly is our daughter,” Thrash said, “and when she was little she had a lot to say and we’d always say the three ways to get word out was telephone, telegraph, and Tell a Kelly.”

The Thrashes have had one Breeders’ Cup starter, Emmy Darling, who ran fifth in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2008. If Tell a Kelly goes, she would be one of two starters for the couple this year. Hurricane Ike, who lost his left front shoe when third in the Grade 2, $500,000 Super Derby last Saturday, is being pointed to the $1 million BC Dirt Mile at Churchill on Nov. 6.

The Oak Leaf is the first of three major North American preps for the Juvenile Fillies. Next weekend, the Grade 1, $400,000 Alcibiades will be run at Keeneland and the Grade 1, $300,000 Frizette goes at Belmont Park. Overseas, the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp in France could produce a starter for the race.