Pretty Birdie

Wicked Halo Storms To Matron S. Win At Oaklawn

Despite inclement weather in the Hot Springs area on Friday afternoon, Wicked Halo (Gun Runner) returned to action off the break and won the inaugural running of the Matron S. over a wet track with Tyler Gaffalione in-town to ride for the weekend. The 4-year-old filly was making her first start of the year for trainer Steve Asmussen after she ran third in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland Nov. 5. Prior to that, the classy sprinter strung together a number of stakes victories starting as...

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Matareya Tough To Go Past in Eight Belles

Godolphin's progressive Matareya (Pioneerof the Nile) goes for a third consecutive victory and second at the graded level when she lines up against nine sprinting sophomore fillies in Friday's GII Eight Belles S. at Churchill Downs. An easy first-out winner at Ellis last August, the homebred was second to Marissa's Lady (Violence) in this track's Fern Creek S. Nov. 27 ahead of a distant runner-up effort behind GI Longines Kentucky Oaks hopeful Secret Oath (Arrogate) in a one-mile Oaklawn allowance Dec. 31. The bay returned to winning ways with a...

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Echo Zulu Faces Eight in Spinaway

Winchell Thoroughbreds and L and N Racing's Echo Zulu (Gun Runner), tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' following her 5 1/2-length debut victory at Saratoga July 15, will attempt to add to her freshman sire's growing list of graded stakes winners when she goes postward in the GI Spinaway S. at Saratoga Sunday. Her first-out effort earned her a 92 Beyer Speed Figure--the highest recorded figure for a 2-year-old filly this year. "The idea was always that she could be a Saratoga 2-year-old," said Winchell Thoroughbreds' racing and bloodstock advisor David...

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Spa Notebook: Maxfield Breezes Towards Whitney

Godolphin's once-beaten Maxfield (Street Sense), the impressive 3 1/4-length winner of Churchill's GII Stephen Foster S. when last seen June 26, tuned up for his next appearance in the Aug. 7 GI Whitney S. with a half-mile breeze over the Oklahoma training track Friday morning that was timed in :49.09 (14/46). Working in the company of stablemate Longpants Required (New Year's Day), the son of Velvety (Bernardini) covered his first two furlongs in :25.3 and was out five-eighths of a mile in 1:01.1 according to NYRA clockers. "I just wanted...

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Bird Song Filly Flies Away with Schuylerville in Whitney Colors

Pretty Birdie, the first and only winner thus far from just 22 first-crop foals for his already expatriated sire (by Unbridled's Song), zipped to the front and ran them off their feet to take Thursday's GIII Schuylerville S. at the Spa in the silks of the late Saratoga legend Marylou Whitney. The grey had earned a field's-best 78 Beyer Speed Figure for a clear debut score at Churchill June 18, and was backed as the second choice behind 'TDN Rising Star' Mainstay, the half-sister to last year's champion 2-year-old filly...

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Bird Song Represented By First Winner at Churchill

Marylou Whitney Stables' homebred Pretty Birdie (Bird Song) became the first winner for her expatriated sire (by Unbridled's Song) with a good-looking box-to-wire tally on Churchill debut Friday afternoon. Taking good pari-mutuel action as a 43-10 chance, the gray filly hit the ground running and clicked off an opening couple of furlongs in :22.16. Traveling well within the grasp of Joe Talamo for the run around the turn, Pretty Birdie was ridden hands and heels into the final eighth of a mile and was kept to her task to score...

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