Haras Phillipson's homebred Gaga A impressed in her U.S. debut, so trainer Neil Drysdale has elected to run the 6-year-old T. H. Approval mare in her first graded North American race July 11, with the possibilities of bigger and better in mind.
Gaga A is one of 10 older fillies and mares scheduled to take part in the $100,000 Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington International Racecourse. Shipping from her Southern California base shouldn't be a problem for the Uruguayan-bred mare who raced in South America and France from 2012 to 2014 before relocating stateside.
In her U.S. debut, the Possibly Perfect Handicap June 7 at Santa Anita Park, Gaga A stalked and pounced to win the $75,000 stakes covering 1 1/2 miles on the turf by 1 1/4 lengths over graded stakes-placed Gas Total. She'll have to dial back for the Modesty, at 1 3/16 miles, and will break from post 8 with jockey Flavien Prat, who will be replacing Tyler Baze but has experience riding the mare in the morning.
Gaga A also has a two-race winning streak dating back to Nov. 11, when she won the Prix Fille de l'Air (Fra-III) at Toulouse.
"If she runs well there, we'll think about the ($750,000) Beverly D. (gr. IT, at Arlington Aug. 15)," Drysdale said.
Graded-stakes winners Riposte and Overheard figure to be the main challengers, but both are on four-race winless streaks. Juddmonte Farms' homebred Riposte won the New York and Sheepshead Bay stakes (both gr. IIT) back-to-back in 2014, while Pin Oak Stable's homebred Overheard won the 2013 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland and the 2014 Dance Smartly Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.
Arlington International Racecourse, Saturday, July 11, 2015, Race 7
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Seeking Treasure (KY) Jerome Lermyte 112 Doug Matthews - 2 2Honey Lake (KY) Jon Kenton Court 116 Victoria H. Oliver - 3 3Rock Me Mama (KY) Julien R. Leparoux 113 Michael J. Maker - 4 4Walk Close (KY) James Graham 117 Christophe Clement - 5 5Mango Diva (GB) Florent Geroux 117 Michael R. Matz - 6 6Lots o' Lex (KY) Rosemary B. Homeister, Jr. 115 Gerald Russel Aschinger - 7 7Overheard (KY) Robby Albarado 120 Malcolm Pierce - 8 8Gaga A (URU) Flavien Prat 119 Neil D. Drysdale - 9 9Notte d'Oro (KY) Jose Valdivia, Jr. 114 Michael Stidham - 10 10Riposte (GB) Jose Lezcano 118 William I. Mott -