Silverbulletday top four exit race in good condition
Trainer Pat Devereux Jr. speaks softly, but he showed up for Saturday's $125,000 Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds with a big stick, and her name was Touch Magic.
"She came back great and now we're going to take her back home and try to decide what's next for her," Devereux said Sunday morning of his Silverbulletday heroine. "Right now, we're still enjoying that win she gave us yesterday.
"If she belongs as an Oaks contender, I would think we can't dance every dance with her," Devereux said when asked if Fair Grounds' Grade 3 Rachel Alexandra on February 23 would be on her agenda. "She's a pretty intense little filly."
Devereux also demurred when asked if he got an extra sense of satisfaction for picking Touch Magic out from all the fillies that were available for purchase when she was bought.
"I didn't really pick her out by myself," he said. "I had a lot of help with that -- especially from Zach Madden over at Three Chimneys. We just decided she was the best available for what we were willing to spend. Then I had a very good veterinarian I know go over her with a fine tooth comb, and she passed all his tests with flying colors.
"Now, our only job will be to figure out what's the best way to go to get to where we want to go with her," Devereux concluded.
Gal About Town ran a big race in the Silverbulletday, but like she did in Churchill's Grade 2 Golden Rod last November 24, she finished second beaten less than a length.
"She's kind of run that same race the last few times now," trainer Bret Calhoun admitted on Sunday morning of the City Zip chestnut. "Naturally, I'm disappointed she didn't win, but she ran well enough.
"I really needed a little more pace in there yesterday," Calhoun added. "If she gets a little more pace, I think she'll run a better race. However, she came back good, so I guess we'll just have to hope for a little more pace next time."
Despite getting beat, Larry Jones was pleased with the third-place effort of Smitten in the Silverbulletday as well as stablemate Mark Valeski's runner-up effort in the Louisiana Handicap one race earlier.
"In spite of getting beat like that, we were happy," the always optimistic trainer remarked on Sunday morning. "Mark Valeski showed me he's still at the top of his game, even after all that time off. He was pretty tired after the race, and he drank a lot of water, but he showed up to run yesterday, and that's what I wanted to see.
"(Smitten) showed me she can run in that kind of company as well. She showed me she belongs. Two months ago, she would have got beat 12 or 15 lengths by those same horses, but she's starting to figure this game out, although as far back as she was early, I was beginning to think she hadn't learned a thing.
"However, for us to run as well as we did in both races shows me that things are starting to come around for us. I'm getting excited about the whole season down here. I think we're going to end up having a lot of fun in the races they both have coming up for them."
Trainer Dallas Stewart's entrants also failed to bring home a trophy, as Golden Soul finished second in the Grade 3 Lecomte and Irish Lute ran fourth in the Silverbulletday, but the trainer and his jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. were both pleased with the respective efforts of the sophomores.
"Brian thought the filly ran real well, and that the colt gave a good effort as well," Stewart said Sunday morning. "The pace in the Lecomte was pretty slow, but (Golden Soul) was finishing good. As the distances get longer, then I think he'll do better.
"But both horses came back good," Stewart added quickly. "Thank God for that."
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