Saturday, October 8, 2011
If there is one thing stablemates Daveron and Gypsy's Warning have in common, it's that they've each been a little deceiving in their results this year.
For a mare that trainer Graham Motion says gets utterly stressed by life on the racetrack, Daveron has won all three of her starts in 2011.
And while Motion says Gypsy's Warning is as good as she was when she took the Grade I Matriarch last November, the 6-year-old has been unable to find the winner's circle in her three starts since.
Though they've spent much of the year going in different directions, both mares will try to deliver their best efforts at the same time Saturday when they start in the Grade I, $350,000 First Lady Stakes on the turf at Keeneland.
The 1-mile First Lady is one of five graded stakes on a card that also includes the Grade I Shadwell Turf Mile and the Grade I Breeders' Futurity for 2-year-olds.
Keeping her happy might be a challenge, but Daveron has brought a lot of joy to her connections with the way she has maintained her race form this year. Team Valor's 6-year-old didn't make her season debut until May 7, but she ended up earning her first graded-stakes win in what was her 14th career start with a neck victory in the Grade III Beaugay Stakes on the inner turf at Belmont.
In addition to keeping her in the quiet sanctuary of his training base at Fair Hill, Motion has kept the chestnut mare's schedule light, sending her and her off-the-pace style to wins in the James Penny Memorial on July 4 and the Grade II Ballston Spa on Aug. 27. Though she hasn't worked since that last win, Motion said that is by design.
"There's not much to her, and she's very high strung so ... I just didn't think she needed it," said Motion, who will also saddle Aruna in Sunday's Grade I Spinster and has Lucky Chappy cross-entered in the Breeders' Futurity and Sunday's Grade III Bourbon Stakes. "Everything is quite unsettling for her; she's just not a filly who does well at the racetrack. So I try not to do too much. She takes a lot out of herself every day."
Weather, not temperament, has been the issue for Gypsy's Warning this season. The bay mare — who is probably making her final career start — has caught a yielding turf in two of her three starts, including her seventh-place finish in the Grade II Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in April, and should benefit from expected firm conditions this weekend.
"I've got to be honest, this filly has just been really unlucky," Motion said. "Every time I've run her this year, the ground has been soft, and she just does not handle it. She likes to feel her feet rattle, so I think her form is a little deceiving for that reason. I think she's as good a filly as she was last year, and I think she's just been really unlucky."