· Valadorna to Winter at Fair Grounds
· Morley and Family Giving New Orleans a Go
· Terra Promessa Tops Work Tab
VALADORNA TO WINTER AT FAIR GROUNDS
Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Valadorna will winter in New Orleans at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, according to conditioner Mark Casse. Owned by Stonestreet Stables, the daughter of Curlin finished a valiant second on racing’s biggest weekend after a traffic-filled trip.
“I’m going to have her stay in Ocala for two or three weeks first,” Casse said. “I almost ran her in the (Grade II) Golden Rod, but decided to give her time to rest and focus on next year, especially if she likely wasn’t going to win a championship even if she won that race. She will go to New Orleans and we’ll concentrate on the 3-year-old filly series there. The goal is obviously the (Grade I $1,000,000) Kentucky Oaks.”
Valadorna will rejoin assistant trainer David Carroll, who was integral in the development of the bay filly this summer in Kentucky. The Casse crew also has John C. Oxley’s Grade I Spinaway Stakes winner Pretty City Dancer, based in Florida and recently returned from a freshening, pointing toward the Kentucky Oaks.
The local series of three Kentucky Oaks preps, which has produced more winners of the big race than any other program during the last decade, commences with the Listed $150,000 Silverbulletday Stakes on Jan. 21, followed by the Grade II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 25 and finally the Grade II $400,000 Twinspires.com Fair Grounds Oaks on April 1. All three events are two turns on the main track, with Silverbulletday contested at a mile and 70 yards and the remaining legs at 1 1/16 miles.
MORLEY AND FAMILY GIVING NEW ORLEANS A GO
Trainer Tom Morley has decided to switch things up this winter. The young, talented conditioner has sent a string of horses to Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots for the cold months in the midst of a career year that has him on the brink of $2 million in purses
“All of our horses shipped well and I’m really happy with the way they looked while I was down there,” Morley said. “We’ll start making multiple entries now and I’m looking forward to it.
“We went to Florida last winter and the money’s not great for the level of horses you have to run against,” he continued. “I know Fair Grounds has put a lot of time and money into the turf course and a lot of our horses are grass horses, so it seemed like a sensible move.”
A former assistant to Eddie Kenneally in America for two years and Jeremy Noseda in the United Kingdom for four, the Englishman has adapted well to American racing, holding his own on the tough New York circuit for the last few years, with more than a million in purses earned each year since 2014. Married to New York Racing Association paddock analyst Maggie Wolfendale, the couple welcomed their newborn daughter Grace Primrose Morley to the world this week.
“Maggie and I will head down after Christmas and spend the remainder of the winter in New Orleans,” he said. “I’m excited to get some of these horses running. I really like a grass sprinter named Kiss the Toad, as well as a nice grass stakes filly I picked up from Team Valor named Nisharora (IRE). There’s also a nice 2-year-old I have for Donegal (Racing) named Manning who had a set back and has really started to improve at the right time”
The 33-year-old’s season was highlighted by Gary Barber and Sequel Racing’s Haveyougoneaway, a multiple graded stakes winner who took down the Grade I Ballerina Stakes in August, went to post as the second choice (finishing seventh) in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and was then sold for $1.1 million to Lake Villa Farm earlier this month at Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky Fall 2016 Mixed Sale.
TERRA PROMESSA TOPS WORK TAB
Multiple graded stakes winner Terra Promessa continued her comeback with a five-furlong bullet on Tuesday in 1:00 flat for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner-breeder Stonestreet Stables.
Pin Oak Stud’s talented colt and Triple Crown trial alum Synchrony had his first work of the season for new conditioner Mike Stidham, working three furlongs in a leisurely 39.60 on Monday. The son of Tapit was last seen finishing third in the Grade III Lexington Stakes at Keeneland in April.
Kathballu, a multiple graded stakes-placed recent restricted stakes winner for Five D Thoroughbreds and trainer Kenny McPeek, had her first local workout when going a strong half-mile in 48.40.
Michael Langford’s Steve Asmussen-trained multiple stakes winner Carve worked a half-mile on Monday for his connections, getting the distance in 51 flat. Placed twice and winless on the year, the 6-year-old has raced solely in stakes company in 2016.
Paul Van Doren’s multiple stakes winner Rise Up, fourth by a neck in a blanket finish last out in the Listed $250,000 Delta Mile on Nov. 19, worked a half-mile on Tuesday in 49 flat for trainer Tom Amoss.
Michele and Cliff Love’s Neil Howard-trained Xtra Luck, a talented graded stakes-winning turf marathoner, worked three furlongs in 38.40 for his connections. It was his second work off an extended layoff.
Harold Lerner’s Grade I-placed The Truth Or Else, fresh off a late-running third as the 6-5 favorite in the $75,000 Sam’s Town at Delta Downs on Nov. 19, worked a half-mile in 48.20 for trainer Kenny McPeek.
Louis Roussel, III’s promising turf sophomore Hero’s Highway worked a smart half-mile on Tuesday in 49 flat for his owner-trainer. This summer, the son of Mizzen Mast beat older horses in allowance company at Arlington.
Impressive 2-year-old maiden winner Keep Talking returned to the work tab Thursday for the first time since graduating locally by a widening 3¾ lengths on Nov. 20, working a half-mile in 49.80 for trainer Tom Proctor and owner Brereton C. Jones.