September 24, 2020

Caribou Club makes it a Glen Hill/Proctor double in Seabiscuit; Elsa roars in Jimmy Durante

Glen Hill Farm's Caribou Club and jockey Joseph Talamo win the Seabiscuit Handicap (G2) at Del Mar on November 24, 2018 © BENOIT PHOTO

One day after Chicago Style connected in the Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), Caribou Club capped a Thanksgiving weekend double for Glen Hill Farm and trainer Tom Proctor in the Seabiscuit (G2) on the same Del Mar turf.

The 7-1 chance was given the proverbial peach of a ride by Joe Talamo. Drawn on the rail, and parked in midpack, Caribou Club raced within striking range of the longshot leaders. The 23-1 Kenjisstorm posted moderate fractions of :23.75, :47.81, and 1:12.37, tracked by the 72-1 Secretary at War, who collared him into the lane.

Meanwhile, Caribou Club had threaded his way between rivals, tipped out turning for home, and cut down Secretary at War by 1 1/4 lengths. Synchrony, the 7-5 favorite, didn’t have as smooth a passage from far back but closed furiously to miss second by a diminishing head. Big Score rounded out the superfecta as Kenjisstorm retreated to fifth of 12.

“I used a saddle Gary Stevens gave me today,” Talamo said of the Hall of Famer who just called it a career this week. “When he retired, he gave me one of his saddles, and one to Mike Smith and one to Drayden Van Dyke. Now I know why he won all those stakes races.”

A Florida homebred, Caribou Club reeled off 1 1/16 firm-turf miles in 1:41.38 and paid $16.20 to win. The City Zip gelding earned his first stakes win at two in the 2016 Laurel Futurity, placed third in last summer’s Oceanside S., and compiled his best season yet in 2018 with victories in the Connaught Cup (G2) and Henry S. Clark. Last time out he was third to Stormy Liberal, the two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion, in the Eddie D. (G3) on Santa Anita’s downhill turf. His scorecard stands at 16-6-2-4, $444,744.

Caribou Club hails from a family cultivated by Glen Hill for a half-century. His dam, multiple Grade 3 vixen Broken Dreams, by Broken Vow, descends from One Dreamer, who famously upset Heavenly Prize in the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).

“I hot-walked this horse’s seventh dam for my dad (the late Willard Proctor) and trained from about the fifth dam on,” Proctor said.

Jockey Joe Bravo commented on his trip aboard beaten favorite Synchrony.

“It’s turf racing – what are you going to do? You love it and you hate it at the same time.”

Bravo loved it two races earlier on the card, when steering Godolphin’s homebred Elsa to victory in the $102,415 Jimmy Durante (G3).

Godolphin’s Elsa and jockey Joe Bravo win the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3) on November 24, 2018, at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO

An 11-1 overlay, the Mike Stidham juvenile brought solid form on firm turf, and her recent seventh in the Selima was easily excusable on account of the yielding ground at Laurel. The quicker conditions, and stretch-out to a mile, suited the daughter of Animal Kingdom to a tee.

Elsa secured a ground-saving spot off the pace, switched out to commence a circling move on the far turn, and surged 2 1/4 lengths clear of the 28-1 front runner Courteous. The 2-1 favorite, Pivottina, had too much ground to make up after a tepid start and settled for third.

“The firm track definitely made a big difference,” Stidham said of Elsa. “She didn’t like the soft ground (in the Selima at Laurel). They went three-quarters in 16 (that day), she broke sharp and then just started retreating backwards and that’s not her. We couldn’t wait to get her out here.”

Elsa had broken her maiden impressively sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on a firm Laurel course in July. She was subsequently third to Wesley Ward’s duo of Stillwater Cove and Chelsea Cloisters in the Bolton Landing at Saratoga, intimating that her Selima result was hardly a true bill. She’s now bankrolled $94,800 from a record of 4-2-0-1.

Elsa’s dam, the Distorted Humor mare Abtasaamah, is a winning half-sister to champion Midshipman and to Grade 2 victress Fast Cookie, the dam of multiple Grade 1 star and $3.9 million-earner Frosted.