Star filly could run in Ladies' Classic
CONNECTIONS of Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell have left the door open for America's top three-year-old filly to run in the Breeders' Cup - despite reservations over the all-weather surface at Santa Anita.
The Larry Jones-trained star would be sure to figure among the favourites for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, the race formerly known as the Distaffthat is the feature event of the Friday card at the two-day meeting on October 24.
Runner-up to Indian Blessing in last year's Juvenile Fillies at Monmouth, Proud Spell ran the worst race of her life on Polytrack at Keeneland earlier this season and had been considered a likely absentee at Santa Anita.
Now, though, Jones is having second thoughts and is eyeing the Breeders' Cup after Proud Spell runs in the Grade 2 Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park on Saturday.
"We're taking the races one at a time," said Jones. "If we do go, this would be her last race before we go."
In preparation for a possible Breeders' Cup tilt, Proud Spell has been galloping on Michael Dickinson's patented synthetic strip at the Fair Hill training centre in Maryland.
"We worked her on the Tapeta surface in case we decide to go," Jones told the Blood-Horse. "If she comes out of this race as well as she's come out of her others, we may well be going to California."
He remains worried about the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita.
"It is a concern," he added. "She hasn't done as well on the synthetics as some of my others have. Her times are slower than the efforts she has been putting forth should suggest. I guess all eyes will be on Santa Anita."
The Ladies' Classic looks a hot contest, featuring the unbeaten Californian star Zenyatta, Godolphin's multiple Grade 1 winner Music Note, plus last year's one-two Ginger Punch and Hystericalady.
Proud Spell's old rival Indian Blessing, destined instead for the Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita, is also in action on Saturday in the Grade 2 Gallant Blook Handicap at Belmont Park.