Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Darby Dan put their mark on graded stakes the past two weekends with Jersey Town and Shackleford running 1-2 in the Grade 2, $400,000 Kelso H. Sept. 29 at Belmont Park, while the Phillips Racing Partnership’s homebred La Cloche posted a breakthrough win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Athenia S. on Oct. 6 at the same track.
The Kelso is a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), to be run on November 3 at Santa Anita Park, with Jersey Town and Shackleford aiming for a rematch.
Owned and bred by long-time Darby Dan client Charles Fipke, and also foaled and raised at the central Kentucky farm, Jersey Town is now 6-8-3 from 20 career starts, with earnings of $789,668.
Shackleford, who won the Grade 1 Metropolitan H. in May at Belmont, is likely on his way to Santa Anita as well. The Breeders' Cup will be his final career start, afterward he will be joining the stallion ranks at Darby Dan.
“I’ve seen him go faster and keep going,” said trainer Dale Romans of Shackleford's Kelso effort. “It was a little different track today; I told Ramon (Dominguez) to take the race to them and make them pass us. Trickmeister is a fast horse, he was running with us and we were going too fast up front. Jersey Town just ran a big race today. I’d like to have gotten the trophy, but it puts us in a good position going to the Breeders’ Cup.”
In the Athenia, La Cloche picked up her second career stakes win and first in a graded event with a 1 ¼-length triumph, getting the 1 1/16 miles on the turf in 1:45.15.
“I just was waiting for my chance to move outside because she never runs one step on the inside,” said winning rider Frankie Alvarado. That was pretty much what I was trying to work out first. She was able to swing outside by the quarter pole, and after that I won’t say it was really easy, but she took off. She really helped me and gave me a nice kick at the end.”
La Cloche is by Ghostzapper and out of Darby Dan's great mare Memories of Silver, who won the 1996 Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and the 1997 Grade 1 Beverly D. for trainer James Toner. Memories of Silver is also the dam of Winter Memories, who took the 2011 Grade 1 Garden City S. and this year’s Grade 1 Diana S. for the same connections.
“John (Phillips) will be thrilled about (the graded stakes win),” said Toner. “That’s all we’ve heard, ‘Gotta get a graded stakes, gotta get a graded stakes, gotta get a graded stakes!’ Thank God, maybe she can get out of her sister’s shadow for a change. We’re really happy for her.”
La Cloche, a 5-year-old, won Belmont’s Voodoo Dancer S. in July. Overall, she is 5-3-0 in 18 starts and has amassed $298,833.