Ready for Shirl Another 'TDN Rising Star' For Fipke Family

Ready for Shirl | Coady Photography


Ready for Shirl (More Than Ready), a daughter of GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf upsetter Perfect Shirl (Perfect Soul {Ire}) from a wildly productive female family beautifully nurtured over the last 20 years by Charles Fipke and his team, jumped at odds of nearly 8-1 in a two-turn maiden over the Keeneland turf course Saturday afternoon.

8-1? 'Shirl'-y you must be joking, but the March-foaled bay rewarded her backers in becoming the second 'TDN Rising Star' out of the mare and the fourth from the first two dams with a spectacular effort on career debut.

A half-step slow to begin from gate nine and a detached last passing the stands for the first time, Ready for Shirl was allowed to find her feet by Florent Geroux and she had some pace up ahead of her, as Tempting Lady (Enticed) went the opening quarter in a swift :22.64 over a course which as recently as Friday still had plenty of ease in it. The homebred had passed a couple of rivals by the time they reached the backstretch, and Ready for Shirl was asked to commence a rally with the better part of 5 1/2 furlongs to go, improving her position with a two-path run before angling down towards the inside at the half-mile pole.

Forced to take evasive action around a weakening rival three furlongs from home, Ready for Shirl was consigned to a very wide run around the second turn, but nevertheless made ominous headway, circling up into contention nearing the stretch. Some six wide at the top of the lane, Ready for Shirl surged to a narrow lead at the furlong grounds and bounded clear late to an eye-catching victory. Pin Up Betty (Constitution) sat a perfect inside trip and narrowly outfinished odds-on Spaliday (More Than Ready–Dayatthespa) for second.

The late Jack Werk acquired then 18-year-old Illinois-bred Grade I winner Lady Shirl for $485,000 on behalf of Fipke at the 2005 Keeneland November sale, and the Theatrical (Ire) filly she was carrying at the time got her new owner off to a flying start. Lady Shakespeare, whose full-brother Shakespeare won the GI Woodbine Mile a year after her birth, would go on to a pair of graded wins–including Keeneland's GIII Bewitch S.

Lady Shirl's first Fipke-planned mating was a date with his 2004 GI Maker's Mark Mile hero Perfect Soul and the result was Perfect Shirl, upset winner of the 2010 GII Lake George S. and whose lone victory in nine subsequent trips to the post was a 27-1 upset of the 2011 Filly and Mare Turf. In her first two years at stud, Perfect Shirl was covered by More Than Ready, but neither of those produce managed a victory. A switch to More Than Ready's barnmate Speightstown seemed to do the trick, as Shirl's Speight, GISW-US, GSW & GISP-Can, $1,408,033, became a 'TDN Rising Star' on Woodbine debut in 2020 and recorded his biggest victory to date in the 2022 Maker's Mark. He was fourth to Master of The Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in Friday's renewal.

Perfect Shirl's half-sister Fantastic Shirl (Fantastic Light), a homebred for Dell Ridge Farm, was accorded 'Rising Star' status on Gulfstream debut in 2006, while Lady Shakespeare was responsible for 'TDN Rising Star' Lady Speightspeare (Speightstown), winner of the GI Natalma S. at two and later third in the 2022 GI Jenny Wiley S. and Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland. The latter's half-sister Ready Lady (More Than Ready) scored at 7-1 on her seven-furlong debut at Woodbine in 2021 before going on to finish third in last year's GII Dance Smartly S.

Perfect Shirl is also the dam of Speightstown Shirl (Speightstown), GSP, $119,038, the 2-year-old filly Perfectshirlstown (Speightstown) and is due to the late WinStar sire this year.

Ready for Shirl is the 17th 'TDN Rising Star' for her sadly departed stallion.

5th-Keeneland, $98,495, Msw, 4-13, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:43.39, gd, 3 1/2 lengths.
READY FOR SHIRL, f, 3, by More Than Ready
1st Dam: Perfect Shirl (GISW-USA, GSP-Can, $1,390,729), by Perfect Soul (Ire)
2nd Dam: Lady Shirl, by That's a Nice
3rd Dam: Canonization, by Native Heritage
Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $56,575. Click for the chart or VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
O/B-Charles E Fipke (KY); T-Roger L Attfield.

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