“I bought her with this plan in mind.”
So declared Team Valor impresario Barry Irwin after his English shipper Capla Temptress cut down longtime leader Dixie Moon in Sunday’s $218,038 Natalma (G1) at Woodbine, securing a free pass into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Trained by Marco Botti and patiently handled by Joel Rosario, the 5-1 chance got off to a bit of a bumpy start and bided her time near the rear early. Meanwhile, the 13-1 Dixie Moon was carving out splits of :23.69 and :47.58 on the firm turf. After shrugging off a bid from Delamar at the six-furlong mark in 1:12.29, Dixie Moon was still in control, and holding 2-1 favorite Wonder Gadot down the stretch.
But the pocket rocket Capla Temptress was picking her way through the field, and once fully deployed, took off. Nabbing Dixie Moon late to win going away by three-quarters of a length, she clocked the mile in 1:35.12. Wonder Gadot checked in another head back in third. March X Press reported home fourth, and Delamar faded to eighth.
According to Racing Post, Capla Temptress will now remain in North America and join Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Botti developed the €26,000 Goffs Orby yearling purchase, bringing her from a debut score on the Chelmsford Polytrack to a higher-grade success at Newmarket. That didn’t escape Irwin’s eye, and Team Valor snapped her up. Capla Temptress made her first start for her new connections in the August 12 Sweet Solera (G3) back at Newmarket, where she finished a promising third. The daughter of Lope de Vega has earned $139,359 from her 4-3-0-1 line.
Bred by Pier House Stud in Ireland, Capla Temptress is out of the winning Mrs Beeton, a Dansili half-sister to multiple Group 3 scorer and 2009 Arlington Million (G1) third Stotsfold.
Quotes from Woodbine
Team Valor’s Barry Irwin on Capla Temptress: “She’s a fighter. She’s small, but she’s got a long stride and she’s all heart.”
Winning rider Joel Rosario: “She broke very nice and for a second I had a little clear spot. I was just looking to follow Patrick (Husbands). He was on one of the speed horses (Wonder Gadot) on the outside. I was trying to let her be behind somebody all the time. She was very nice. I had to tap her a little bit on the backside to get her attention. After that, she did the job.”
Jockey Eurico Rosa da Silva on runner-up Dixie Moon: “My filly is a fantastic filly. The first time I got on this filly, I knew she was a very good horse. It’s too bad we got beat today, but she’s going to come back and beat these horses. I’m telling you, she’s a very nice horse. I’m very pleased with the race. She was not very focused at the end. It’s just her second race and it’s a lot to ask to run with big horses, but we are very, very happy.”
Earlier on the Woodbine card, Team Valor’s past homebred champion Animal Kingdom scored his biggest win so far as a freshman sire when Untamed Domain exploded late in the $208,400 Summer (G2) and thereby booked his passage to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Owned by West Point Thoroughbreds and trained, like Animal Kingdom, by Graham Motion, Untamed Domain overcame trouble to break his maiden at Saratoga second time out. He also endured a tough trip in the With Anticipation (G3), closing for a better-than-appears third. The addition of blinkers here helped the 3-1 chance come alive in the hands of new rider Joe Bravo.
Yet for most of the way, hitherto unbeaten Hemp Hemp Hurray appeared to be in pole position. The 8-5 favorite prompted pacesetting El Dulce through fractions of :23.89 and :47.53. Count Alexander briefly joined the fray by the time they reached six furlongs in 1:11.65, but Hemp Hemp Hurray asserted in the stretch and edged away.
Then Untamed Domain, fifth until the last furlong, finally got himself organized. Striking top gear despite drifting in, he collared Hemp Hemp Hurray by a neck in a final time of 1:34.73. Admiralty Pier did his best work late for third, overtaking Count Alexander and El Dulce.
The latest headliner bred by Clearsky Farms of Arrogate, Abel Tasman, and Lord Nelson fame, Untamed Domain was sold for $90,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. He now sports a mark of 4-2-0-1, $165,600. His dam, multiple stakes victress and Grade 2-placed Ciao, is a daughter of Lear Fan descended from French Group 1 queen Smuggly.
Quotes from Woodbine
Winning rider Joe Bravo on Untamed Domain: “This horse is a big horse; he needs a little bit of learning.
“The whole puzzle really came together today. Graham did a great job by putting the blinkers on for the first time.
“He’s a very big horse that is just learning and my main thing was just to get him plenty of room and keep him out of trouble turning for home. I had to swing three-wide and he just leveled off so beautifully. Graham knew what he had, he knows he has a special horse.”
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez on Hemp Hemp Hurray, second as the 8-5 favorite: “Perfect trip. He was a little bit strong the first part of the race and that was it. He didn’t have enough to fight down the lane.”