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'Ebby' cruises in debut
|Though not as massive, 'Ebby'
bears a striking resemblance to her famous sister Zenyatta
Eric N. Kronfeld's homebred Eblouissante, a Bernardini half-sister to Horse
of the Year and equine star Zenyatta, made her much anticipated debut in the
4TH race at Hollywood Park on Friday and, just like her big sis, flew home
to score by 4 1/4 lengths on the wire.
Making her racetrack bow almost exactly five years after Zenyatta posted a
three-length victory on November 22, 2007, Eblouissante settled near the rear of
the eight-filly field under jockey Corey Nakatani as Saturday Nite Ride took
command out of the gate. The dark bay lass saved ground down on the rail through
splits of :23 4/5, :48 and 1:13 before tugging her way forward nearing the turn.
Eblouissante easily cruised up to the outside of the leaders rounding the
turn about three wide and kept motoring to run down Chestnut Moon and Saturday
Nite Ride. The Kentucky-bred sophomore kept right on running once passing the
duo, finishing 1 1/16 miles on the Cushion Track in 1:45 1/5, and was far in
front on the gallop out as well.
Eblouissante, or "Ebby" as she's known in trainer John Shirreffs' shedrow,
earned $27,000 for her initial victory. Sent off the 7-5 favorite, she paid
$4.80, $3.60 and $2.80 for the win.
|Does trainer John Shirreffs have another equine star in his barn?
"She has so many mannerisms like Zenyatta, so when she left and Eblouissante
came in, it was like she was still there," remarked Shirreffs, who conditioned
Zenyatta to not only Horse of the Year but three straight championships as older
female. "It's a thrill, it really is. We're very excited about her. She's such a
beautiful race horse.
"I thought she handled everything well. As a first time starter she didn't
really know what was going on. Going a mile and a sixteenth the first time, that
was really something. It's like something clicked and she knew she was supposed
to catch the horses in front of her.
"Each succeeding workout was a little better than the prior one and we saw
that turn of foot in the mornings. We've been waiting for this day a long time."
Nakatani was likewise impressed.
"It felt so easy it was scary," he stated. "In the mornings, getting on her,
she did everything right. It was similar to what we did with her this afternoon
-- walk her down, jog her past the starting gate, walk some more and keep her
nice and composed.
"She was actually more alert and into the race than we actually thought she
would be. Turning for home, I let her out a little bit to get to the position
where I wanted to be where she can kick on and do her thing.
"She did everything I asked. Anytime you get to ride a sister of a champion
like Zenyatta, it's a pleasure, especially at this stage in my career. I'm
excited right now and that's an understatement."
|Corey Nakatani was all smiles after Ebby's effortless debut win
"With John running (Zenyatta) the way he did, you know he's going to do the
right things and make all the right moves."
Following Chestnut Moon and Saturday Nite Ride under the wire was Belonging,
who interestingly enough, is campaigned by Jerry and Ann Moss, owners of
Zenyatta. Spin the Blues, Urania, Playful Humor and Out for Revenge completed
the order of finish.
Eblouissante's owner bred both Zenyatta and Eblouissante under the stable
name Maverick Productions Ltd. The sisters are out of the prolific Kris S. mare
Vertigineux, who found the winner's circle only twice in her time on track but
has been a homerun in the breeding shed. In addition to Zenyatta and
Eblouissante, the 17-year-old mare has also produced multiple Grade 1-winning
millionaire Balance and stakes queen Where's Bailey.
Vertigineux was honored as Broodmare of the Year in 2008 following Zenyatta's
unbeaten championship season, and this black-type rich female family also boasts
Canadian champion Sweetest Thing, 1997 Grade 2 Kentucky Oaks queen Sweet
Alliance, Grade 1-winning sire Mizzen Mast and Shareef Dancer, a champion in
both England and Ireland.
Since Eblouissante, Vertigineux has foaled a juvenile filly and a yearling
filly, both by Henrythenavigator.
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