Abel Tasman, fresh off her head victory in the Grade 1, $ 300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga Race Course, was set to fly out of Newburgh Airport early Monday afternoon to return to Bob Baffert’s barn at Del Mar in California. All looked well Monday morning for the Quality Road filly, according to trainer John Terranova, who housed the winning filly at his barn on the main track backside.
“Seems like everything’s good,” Terranova said. “Bucking and playing around the shed row this morning. She’s pretty cool, pretty laid back about everything. She’s good to go. She’ll go hang out at the beach for a while now.”
Following the race, Baffert said he is unsure about where to send the winner of three straight Grade 1 races, but will consider the Grade 1, $ 600,000 Alabama at Saratoga for her next start. Abel Tasman is perfect through three starts on the East Coast, and would sweep the Triple Tiara with a win in the Alabama. The Triple Tiara begins with the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park, the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and the Grade 1 Alabama, both at Saratoga. No filly has swept the series since its reconfiguration in 2010.
Oaks runner-up Elate exited the race in good order, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who noted that the Medaglia d’Oro filly suffered a few bumps following the break, but nothing likely to deter her training leading up to the Alabama on August 19.
“She looks pretty good,” Mott said. “She had a little grab, she stumbled a little bit leaving the gate and touched the outside of her foot a little bit. It doesn’t look like anything serious.”
Held in tight by Abel Tasman and jockey Mike Smith during the stretch run, the stewards’ decision let the results stand following an objection by Elate’s jockey Jose Ortiz.
“It’s a 50-50 call, tough call. If I was a steward it would be a tough call,” said Mott. “If I was on their end, I would say it shouldn’t come down. They’ve let the same situation slide here a few times, I think the fact they let it slide here a few times I guess they had to let it slide yesterday. Definitely was herding a little bit, and flashed his whip in front of our horse’s head a few times.
“I suppose if it was my horse that won I would say he probably rode it very well. She ran a bang-up race. We’ll plan to come back in the Alabama.”
Although game in a tough defeat, Mott tipped his cap to the winner.
“She’s an accomplished filly that’s done very well,” he said. “She’s won three Grade 1s now? Three in a row, so can’t take anything away from her. All we can do is try to beat her if she comes back. Come on back, we’ll try again.”
Juddmonte Farm’s Lockdown, third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks followed up by a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Mother Goose, has been training well at Belmont Park and is scheduled to join her stablemate at Saratoga, said Mott, likely giving the Hall of Famer a one-two punch in the Alabama.
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