Ransom Notes: Week of August 1, 2016

American Cleopatra Dazzles in Debut

American Cleopatra

American Cleopatra

Zayat Stables homebred American Cleopatra, a full sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, made her highly anticipated debut a winning one on Sunday by capturing a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight race at Del Mar by two lengths. The Bob Baffert-trained daughter of Pioneerof the Nile and the Yankee Gentlemen mare Littleprincessemma was the public’s co-third choice at odds of more than 7-1 despite her high-profile pedigree, sibling and connections and returned $16.60, $6.60 and $4.20.

American Cleopatra, who drew post position five in the field of seven other juvenile fillies, broke like a rocket from the gate under jockey Stewart Elliott and though she wasn’t in front past the opening quarter in :21 4/5, she was in command past the half in :45.17. As she rounded the far bend, American Cleopatra slowly started to pull away from the field behind her and, soon after she passed the eighth pole in :57.01 with a three length advantage, Elliot did little more than pilot her safely to the wire, stopping the clock in 1:03.38 over a fast main track.

“She was fit and she was ready,” Baffert said. “And those are some good genes there.

“Her last work [from the gate], she worked really well. And Stewart Elliott is a really good gate jockey, so [I wasn’t surprised she broke so fast.] She was pretty impressive today. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t talk them up, you get 7-1.”

American Cleopatra shares the same genes as her big brother, but as much as she is like American Pharoah in personality, she’s physically built much differently.

“She’s a much shorter-legged and stockier,” Baffert said. “But she’s got a good mind and is pretty sweet like her brother.”

Baffert didn’t indicate what would be next for American Cleopatra, but it wouldn’t be surprising if she was the Hall of Fame conditioner’s best shot at winning a seventh Del Mar Debutante (GI) on September 3.

Trojan Nation a Maiden No More

Trojan Nation

Trojan Nation

Gilbert or Sones’ Trojan Nation, probably the last well-known maiden sophomore in the nation after Laoban broke his maiden in Saturday’s Jim Dandy Stakes (GII), finally graduated to winner status on Sunday after capturing the first race at Del Mar, a 1 1/8-mile turf event for maiden sophomores worth $63,000, by three-quarters of a length.

The bay son of Street Cry and the champion Summer Squall mare Storm Song previously had been on the Triple Crown trail after finishing second in the Wood Memorial Stakes (GI) in early April, but after a 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a 10th-place showing in the Belmont Stakes (GI), a plan was made to regroup and aim for a summer turf campaign in California.

Under jockey Drayden Van Dyke, Trojan Nation rallied from off the pace, battled through some trouble at the top of the stretch and dug in down the lane to gain the victory, stopping the clock in 1:50.58. Trainer Paddy Gallagher, who is well-known for his sense of humor, said he’s not sure if it was the turf or the return to maiden company that helped his charge finally deliver a win.

“Was it the turf? Maybe it was the maiden, I don’t know honestly,” Gallagher said. “He’s a very big horse and I always thought he’d be good on the turf. Hard to say what, but right now we’re going to breathe a little and figure out what’s next. I know he’ll have the earnings to get into the Del Mar Derby (G!) (on September 4) but we’ll look around.”

As the public’s 8-5 favorite in the field of nine Trojan Nation paid $5.20, $3.80 and $2.80.

Margaret Ransom
California native and lifelong horsewoman Margaret Ransom is a graduate of the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program. She got her start in racing working in the publicity departments at Calder Race Course and Hialeah Park, as well as in the racing office at Gulfstream Park in South Florida. She then spent six years in Lexington, KY, at BRISnet.com, where she helped create and develop the company’s popular newsletters: Handicapper’s Edge and Bloodstock Journal.

After returning to California, she served six years as the Southern California news correspondent for BloodHorse, assisted in the publicity department at Santa Anita Park and was a contributor to many other racing publications, including HorsePlayer Magazine and Trainer Magazine. She then spent seven years at HRTV and HRTV.com in various roles as researcher, programming assistant, producer and social media and marketing manager.

She has also walked hots and groomed runners, worked the elite sales in Kentucky for top-class consignors and volunteers for several racehorse retirement organizations, including CARMA.

In 2016, Margaret was the recipient of the prestigious Stanley Bergstein Writing Award, sponsored by Team Valor, and was an Eclipse Award honorable mention for her story, “The Shocking Untold Story of Maria Borell,” which appeared on USRacing.com. The article and subsequent stories helped save 43 abandoned and neglected Thoroughbreds in Kentucky and also helped create a new animal welfare law known as the “Borell Law.”

Margaret’s very first Breeders’ Cup was at Hollywood Park in 1984 and she has attended more than half of the Breeders’ Cups since. She counts Holy Bull and Arrogate as her favorite horses of all time. She lives in Pasadena with her longtime beau, Tony, two Australian Shepherds and one Golden Retriever.

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