February 27, 2010

Chicago Filly Makes Good

Many of you may not know that Zipse at the Track is written daily from Metroland Chicago, thereby making beautiful Arlington Park my home track. Now knowing this pertinent piece of information, you can not blame me for keeping an extra close eye on those horses who start their careers at Arlington. It is a wonderful place to bring in an established turf runner, with their solid stakes schedule for those who prefer the green, but it also a great place for the Midwestern juvenile to start their careers away from the glitz of Southern California, and the bluebloods of New York. Each Summer I have the pleasure of seeing countless young colts and fillies begin their careers at Arlington, only to go on to bigger and better things after leaving the Windy City. Two of the recent juvenile filly champions, Dreaming of Anna, and She Be Wild began at Arlington. For whatever reason, Arlington Park attracts a steady influx of talented beginning horses. Another such horse made a name for herself in smashing fashion this afternoon at Gulfstream Park, her name is Amen Hallelujah.

Amen Hallelujah scored her biggest win to date in the Grade 2 Davona Dale Stakes. Facing the prospect of letting the betting favorite alone on the lead, Amen Hallelujah took the onus upon herself to do all the heavy lifting. She pressured the fast filly Bickersons early, and reeled her in with ease as they straightened out. From there it was a stroll in the park, as the disheartened favorite backed out. Amen Hallelujah went on about her business and cruised to a 6 ¼ length runaway. In the process she ran approximately three lengths faster than the older stakes fillies who ran the same distance in the previous race. Very impressive indeed for the Chicago filly

Why do I call her a Chicago filly? Her Chicago connection began last June when she ran fifth in her lifetime debut at Arlington. She followed that up with three more races at the Chicagoland oval. In those races, Amen Hallelujah improved with every start, breaking her maiden in her third start, before impressively running away from a field of winners in her fourth and final start at Arlington Park. I do not know if she will ever run at Arlington again, but those first four races are enough for me to always consider her a Chicago horse.

Amen Hallelujah is an attractive dark bay daughter of Montbrook, and the Concorde’s Tune mare, Sara’s Success. She is owned by the partnership of IEAH and Whizway Farms and trained by Richard Dutrow. She was ridden to victory today by Julien Leperoux, this being the first time the Eclipse Award winning jockey partnered with Amen Hallelujah. She clearly did well with her new rider, but most importantly, she did very well on a brand new surface. After seven good efforts on synthetic surfaces, Amen Hallelujah was finally given the chance to see what she could do on good old fashioned dirt. Today’s result speaks volumes, of both her versatility, but also her affinity for dirt. It was not a big surprise that she liked it, as Dutrow had predicted that she would be better on the more traditional surface, after watching her work on both surfaces.

After such a dominant win, the question becomes…what’s next? The obvious answer would be to bring her back in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes in three weeks time. The Bonnie Miss is a 1 1/8 mile race and would represent the longest distance that Amen Hallelujah has run to date. It is also the same day as Gulfstream’s biggest race, the Florida Derby, giving the option to her connections of going for the gusto. While the Florida Derby may be a bit much for her right now, the Bonnie Miss and then the Kentucky Oaks seems like a very likely progression. Distance will be a question, but today’s romp at a mile gives me high hopes that one more furlong will be within her scope. Her future appears to be very bright, and with today’s win, she moves even higher up my ranking of the best sophomore fillies in the nation, into a top three position. Regardless of what she accomplishes in the future, it is always nice when a Chicago horse makes good. I will be watching.


JoeyDaK said...

By Montbrook out of a Concorde's Tune mare? Stick to one-turn mile on DIRT. Stick with what works.

C T Coleman said...

Great piece on a great horse Brian. however I love your poll on who should carry the Apple Blossom? I like NBC when it comes to sports they have had all the major sports (except college basketball)and done well I really live it when they break out Tom Hammond the voice of Irish football for the SA Derby/ Wood Memorial and the Derby. I also am slightly shocked at how ABC/ESPN seem to try and "outthink the room" in its broadcasts. there is a reason why every horse race is shot the same way because it works I remember seeing ESPN cover the belmont undercard and jumping to toher shots atthe top of the lane. I admit the Isocam is a good feature showing the path a horse takes but save allthe gimics for after the race. also during the breeders cup they dont want to show odds just feel like the worldwide leader in sports gets to cute with stuff sometimes.

Brian Zipse said...

Like I said Joey DaK, distance will be a question...but she is only 1/8 of a mile from the Oaks distance. Will the second turn also be a barrier, maybe.

Thanks C T C! I prefer NBC as well, and both Bravo and USA are NBC stations...I am still hoping that NBC pulls a last secon shocker and pulls it up to the big station, but it does not seem likely.

SilentCal said...

That was a stunning performance. I had no idea how good she was, I guess she has taken to dirt!

LDP said...

Her win over the Hollywood Park strip was just about the only indication for me to pick Amen Hallelujah, since it is the one that is said to play more like dirt. However I didn't expect her to run like she did. It was a very very impressive race. On the distance, horses have outrun their pedigree before, great horses or even very good horses can do that.