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Market Quote caused quite a stir on Sunday at Santa Anita. The three-year-old daughter of After Market stood still in the gates for a good 3 seconds in her debut over a mile on grass, but then made a Zenyatta-like move to win with Joe Talamo up. Considering how fast the Santa Anita course typically is, it was a very impressive performance for a horse making her first start. Congrats to trainer John Shirreffs and owner/breeders Martin and Pam Wygod on their “good one!”

E is for Epic: Eblouissante Making 2nd Start Saturday

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Edit: For the diehard handicappers for Saturday, here’s the Brisnet PPs for the race! Critique Ebby away!

It’s not often you cope with 3-5 odds on a debuting three-year-old, but in the case of Eblouissante, those odds are sensible and possibly decent considering how much skill the near-black filly displayed in her maiden-winning effort last time out at Hollywood Park. I want to save most of this conversation for my upcoming video (which I assure you, is in the pipeline!), but to simplify the tone “Ebby” will have on Saturday’s card for her second start: E is for epic.

By now, you’ve probably know all about how well her first-ever race went. Accepting the fact she is not and likely will never be as good as her big half sis Zenyatta, she is still an incredible specimen and looked like a pro handling her first field over 1 1/16 miles. She looked totally “Zen” in her far turn move, eating up ground in just a few strides and was clear of the field mid-homestretch with little to no encouragement from jockey Corey Nakatani. Now that we’ve gotten a taste, what can we expect from her second start in an allowance optional claimer this Saturday? Let’s take a look at her competition:

1) Glowing Spirit [BRZ] (Crimson Tide x Deusa de Amor [BRZ], by Spend a Buck) - The 4-year-old filly trained by A. C. Avila missed a Fairplex stakes win this year by a head and has 1 win this year from 12 starts, which was a 10-furlong turf allowance back in January at Santa Anita. Edwin Maldonado rides and she’s claimable for $40,000.

2) The Only Key [GB] (Key of Luck x Sierra Virgen, by Stack) - Winless in 2 outings this year, the 6-year-old mare makes her 3rd North American start, last out running a stale 4th in a race similar to this one. Victor Espinoza rides this optional claimer.

3) Eblouissante

4) Include the Cat (Include x Cat Be Quick, by Tactical Cat) - Winless in 6 races this year, the career claimer hopes to do better than back-to-back place performances in her last 2 Hollywood starts. The 5-year-old gets Garrett Gomez.

5) Toomanytomatoes (Downtown Seattle x Toomanytomorrows, by French Deputy) - With 3 wins in 6 starts this year, the only other non-claimer in the race is also the only other sophomore and legitimate challenger. She’s 3-for-3 at Hollywood and was the winner of a mile turf allowance last out. Rafael Bejarano will be in the irons.

Numbers-wise, Toomanytomatoes and Eblouissante are on the same playing field. Obviously, you will get a little better value going with the former, but Eblouissante is the towering class of the field examining her effortless win and champion pedigree. I see this race as little more than a public workout for Ebby, who will use this as a [likely] last step toward a stakes debut.

Eblouissante was simply dazzling, was she not?

Eblouissante was simply dazzling, was she not?

When discussing extremely hyped, debuting horses, Zenyatta's half sister Eblouissante (by Bernardini) is going to take the cake. The dark bay filly is following in her older sister’s footsteps being trained by John Shirreffs and will make her first career start— much like Zenyatta did herself— in November of her three-year-old year. She will be going 1 1/16 miles against 7 other female maidens in race #4 on Friday at Hollywood Park.

When discussing extremely hyped, debuting horses, Zenyatta's half sister Eblouissante (by Bernardini) is going to take the cake. The dark bay filly is following in her older sister’s footsteps being trained by John Shirreffs and will make her first career start— much like Zenyatta did herself— in November of her three-year-old year. She will be going 1 1/16 miles against 7 other female maidens in race #4 on Friday at Hollywood Park.

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of a special track pony. “Hootie” shuttled horses like Zenyatta and El Vino from paddock to post before retiring as a representative “spokeshorse” for TROTT.

It is with great sadness to announce the passing of a special track pony. “Hootie” shuttled horses like Zenyatta and El Vino from paddock to post before retiring as a representative “spokeshorse” for TROTT.

397 Nominated to the Triple Crown

The Kentucky Derby early nominations have been announced online, and there’s a whole whopping 397 horses (up about 9% from last year) that are considered by their connections to be special enough to justify that $600 fee. I know a good many of them, and I’m excited to see the rest, especially seeing as Animal Kingdom, Nehro, Ruler On Ice, and others weren’t really well known at all until very late in the prep season. Here are some fun stats about this year’s crop:

  • 7 have the word “Big” or “Mr.” in their names
  • 3 are named after their owners: Hansen, owned by Dr. Kendall Hansen, Big Time Rich, owned by Big Time Rich LLC (I believe that’s a country band, is it not?), and A Boy Named Em, owned by Em Fluhr.
  • 6 fillies have been nominated: Disposablepleasure, Indian Magique, Lady of Shamrock, On Fire Baby, Princess Arabella, and Reneesgotzip.
  • Kentucky is represented more than any other state in nominees’ pedigrees with 303 out of 397 being foaled in the Bluegrass State.
  • Tiznow and Unbridled’s Song are tied for the most nominated progeny with 12 each. Malibu Moon and Street Sense are tied for second with 12 while War Front has 11.
  • Last year’s winning trainer of Animal Kingdom, Graham Motion has 7 hopefuls in his barn. Todd Pletcher is loaded with 32 hopefuls.
  • Ahmed Zayat of Zayat Stables LLC. has more nominees than any other owner with 13 answering roll call, 3 of those nominees’ names begin with “Z”: Z Dager, Z Camelot, and Z Vilna. Give the guy a break, he’s been runner-up in the Derby twice with Nehro and Pioneerof the Nile.
  • The owner/trainer combo of last year’s Derby favorite Dialed In, Robert La Penta is taking no chances with a whole bushel of horses at Nick Zito’s barn: Stereo In Motion, Unyielding, Wise Guy Charlie, Great Call, Spin Out, Minescape, Iron Willed, Tiz Spring, and Castaway.
  • Having an eye for great juveniles including almost Triple Crown winner Real Quiet and Haskell winner Coil, Mike Pegram and Bob Baffert have Brannaman, Drill, and Secret Circle.
  • Can’t get enough of those memorable Zenyatta silks? The Mosses have 3 hopefuls, Mank, Taramo, and Blingo, all with John Shirreffs.
  • 9 Hall of Fame trainers have Derby hopefuls. Jonathan Sheppard is the only one is have just one horse: Ever So Lucky.

A family visiting the Shirreffs barn failed to give Zenyatta much attention while feeding Harmonious a carrot.

Horse Racing Facts #21

As an untried three-year-old in training, no one exercising horses for the Shirreffs barn was interested in riding Zenyatta.

Eblouissante, Zenyatta's half sister by Bernardini, goes for a gallop at Del Mar

Eblouissante, Zenyatta's half sister by Bernardini, goes for a gallop at Del Mar

Going to the Thoroughbred races, keeping "track" of the memories. Obsessively providing a comprehensive and personal glance at the sport of kings through original photography, handicapping analysis, editorials, and much more.

Tracks visited: Calder, Saratoga, Belmont, Suffolk, Aqueduct.


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