Friday, January 9, 2015

Barn Notes: Friday, January 9



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Barn Notes:  Friday, January 9, 2015                                                                                             

·        Thursday Four-Bagger for Florent Geroux

·        Pessin Expects the Real Distorted Music Next Time

·        Calhoun High on Flor de la Luna



            Jockey Florent Geroux – who had a career year in 2014 that included a Breeders’ Cup Sprint win on Midwest Thoroughbreds’ Work All Week, seven graded stakes victories and a money title at Arlington International Racecourse – had his first big day of 2015 when he piloted home four winners on one card on Thursday, January 8. 


            Geroux got things started in a big way with his first mount of the day in the second race, Joe Duhon-trained first-time starter and longest shot on the board Banduceus ($51.60) – a charge owned by singer Toby Keith’s Dream Walkin’ Farms who won with a late rally.  The Frenchman proceeded to annex the third race on Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s promising Tom Amoss trainee Wireless Future ($7.20) to pay a healthy $292.20 (for $2) Geroux daily double.   


Geroux would then go on to another double in the sixth and seventh races on Helen Alexander and Stuart Huston’s David Carroll-trained favorite Ft Davis ($5) and Waccamaw Stable’s Michelle Lovell-trained Moon Traveler ($11.80) for a much more sensible $36 double.


            In addition to an excellent average win payout of $18.90, he also finished second in two other races – including a tough neck loss on Right Time Racing’s Brad Cox-trained Mizzen Moon in the featured fifth race – and a fourth in his only other mount. All in all, Geroux’s day accounted for a record of 7-4-2-0. 


The tetrad of victories moved Geroux up to 22 at the meet and into a tie for third in the standings with journeyman Francisco Torres through Thursday’s card.  A clear second with 30 is Miguel Mena, while the runaway leader is James Graham with a daunting 53.




            When the gates opened on Dec. 21 in the $50,000 Tiffany Lass Stakes, it became a procession for Fox Hill Farm’s starlet Cassatt.  The daughter of Tapit would go on to wire the five-horse field that day by an impressive 5¾ lengths.  The odds-on favorite winning was not a huge surprise.  The unexpected occurrence was the oddly flat performance of Lothenbach Stables’ 5-1 second choice and highly regarded Distorted Music – a lightly raced and royally bred daughter of Distorted Humor who had yet to perform poorly in six previous starts and showed plenty of promise in the process. 


            “She’s better than that,” trainer Neil Pessin said.  “She hit the gate when the horse beside her broke through.  (Distorted Music) broke a tooth in the process and probably didn’t run too well because of that.  I know we wouldn’t have beaten Cassatt – she’s a Breeders’ Cup kind of filly – but we would have been second.”


            After ambling home with uncharacteristic languor – finishing fourth beaten 14¼ lengths – the well-built chestnut mare will look to amend such a performance.  A winner on both dirt and Polytrack, she will look to possibly branch out to the grass in her next race – a prospect that could suit well for the daughter of a half-sister to French classic winner Musical Chimes.


            “I am trying to get her into a three-other-than on the grass,” Pessin continued. “She’s doing great and is a really talented filly.”


            Pessin also took a moment to mention that his stable star Eden Prairie – also owned by the Lothenbachs – is doing well. 


            “She’s great right now,” he said.  “She’s going to work Sunday and that should set us up for the ($60,000 Marie G.) Krantz (Memorial) on the 17th.”


            Eden Prairie exits an easy wire-to-wire win in the $50,000 Blushing K. D. Stakes on Dec. 18 at the Krantz Memorial’s course and distance of 1 1/16 miles.  Last year, she won the Krantz Memorial by a length in stalking fashion.





            There have not been a great deal of open maiden special weights on the grass for sophomores of 2015, but those that have happened have produced some promising horses.  One of the more impressive was that of Club House Racing’s Bret Calhoun-trained Flor de la Luna on Nov. 28 at the beginning of the meet.  Racing wide throughout in the 10-horse field, she closed gamely and out-battled a talented La Luna Rouge from the Mike Stidham barn by a head.

A daughter of Malibu Moon out of the graded stakes-placed Bernstein mare Instrumentalist, Flor de la Luna took four races to break her maiden and did not graduate until her first shot on the grass.  She has been part of a deep sophomore filly harem in the Calhoun barn that also includes stakes fillies Zooming, Perfect Fit and Promise Me Silver. 


            “She beat a very good filly that day of Stidham’s and I really believe she’ll keep moving forward on the turf,” Calhoun said.  “We’ll keep her on the grass for now.  I'm not saying we won’t try the dirt again – but she’s a little immature, so maybe down the road.


            “I’ve been kind of lucky with these fillies,” Calhoun continued.  “The one who may have thrown a monkey wrench into my plans is Promise Me Silver.  I had sent Zooming down here (for the Listed $125,000 Silverbulletday Stakes), Perfect Fit to Oaklawn (for the Listed $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes) and her to Oaklawn for the Dixie Belle – but she really relaxed so well winning the Letellier (Memorial on Dec. 20), she might go long.”


            According to Calhoun, he is looking for an allowance for Flor de la Luna’s next race.  The Kentucky-bred has put in three serious works since her win, including a five-furlong move in 1:02 (24th of 64) on Dec. 29. 




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