Amani to challenge males in Pacific Classic; Dullahan breezes
Trainer Neil Drysdale confirmed Saturday that the four-year-old filly Amani will be entered in the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic next Sunday. The Chilean star signaled her readiness with a seven-furlong work in 1:26 4/5 Saturday at Hollywood Park.
"I was very pleased with her, she worked very well," the Hall of Fame conditioner said. "I'm going to call the owner and let him know she's going to run in the race."
Amani is owned by the Sumaya U.S. Stables of Oussama Aboughazali.
Amani was a winner of 10 of 11 starts in her native Chile in a one-year span starting in December 2010. Nine of the victories in Chile by the daughter of Morning Raider, a son of champion Giant's Causeway, were in Group-level events, generally by margins of eight or more lengths with the largest being 25 lengths.
Trained in Chile by Marco Antonio Pavez Ochoa, Amani was sent to Drysdale following a win in the Group 1 St. Leger Cristal at the Hippodromo on December 17.
Amani made her U.S. debut, and first start for Drysdale, in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar August 4, rallying for third, beaten 1 3/4 lengths, after bobbling at the start and traveling wide into the stretch.
Garrett Gomez will retain the mount in the Classic.
Gomez's agent, Tony Matos, was enthused about the prospect.
"She's a very good filly, she's run against colts before and I like my chances," Matos said. "Fillies can do well against colts this time of year and Garrett wins these kinds of races."
In other Pacific Classic news, multiple Grade 1 winner Dullahan breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 2/5 over the fast track at Churchill Downs in advance of his first start against elders. Trained by Dale Romans, the three-year-old son of Even the Score posted the fastest move of 18 workers at the distance.
Dullahan recorded a fast-closing third in the Kentucky Derby, but has been no factor in his last two dirt starts, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational and seventh in the Belmont Stakes. Both of his career wins came on Keeneland's Polytrack, a maiden-breaking score in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity last October and 1 1/4-length tally in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes this spring.
"He obviously likes the Polytrack, and this (Pacific Classic) was our best opportunity to get him back on it in a big race," Romans said recently.
Grade 2 San Diego Handicap winner Rail Trip will log his final workout for the Pacific Classic on Tuesday at Hollywood Park and ship down later in the week, trainer Ron Ellis reports. A Grade 1 winner in 2009, the seven-year-old gelding snapped an eight-race losing skein in the July 28 San Diego.
"He came out of the last race well and he's doing fine," Ellis said. "We're keeping him up there because we figure he's better off being where he's happy and not disrupting the routine. He handled (Del Mar's Polytrack) very well last time so it's not necessary to have a work over it."
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