There is no doubt DP Racing's Prize Exhibit has shown she's capable of competing at the graded level in Southern California.
Prize Exhibit has three graded victories during her 31-race career, including her last start in the Megahertz Stakes (G3T) Jan. 16 at Santa Anita Park, but the complicated 5-year-old Showcasing mare often has, well, complications. Up next for Prize Exhibit will be the $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes (G2T) back at Santa Anita.
"She's always been difficult," trainer Jim Cassidy said of Prize Exhibit's racetrack excursions, both during training and in races. "I go to work her and I tell the clockers she's going to work five-eighths and they ask me 'What pole is she going to work from?' You never know. It's all up to her."
In between her last two victories—the Megahertz and the Monrovia Stakes (G2T) in January of 2016—there was a stretch of 10 starts where she only placed once, in the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar in August, but the notes on her trips are frequently hazardous.
Cassidy says the ideal trip for Prize Exhibit is to be covered up early and to find space on the outside in the stretch to unleash her closing kick, but that—at least recently—rarely happens.
"She's not an easy horse to ride in the afternoon and she can get a little on the rank side. She needs to be covered up and if she doesn't get covered up, you're in trouble," Cassidy said of her propensity to try to run off when she's in the clear. "You have to hope for a pace and a clear trip.
"If I see her in the clear on the outside at the eighth pole, I'm confident she'll get there."
Prize Exhibit is the only multiple graded winner in the Buena Vista field, but two of the other 10 entrants have won at the graded level once, most notably Illuminant, who took the Gamely (G1T) in her last start back in May.
Michael McCarthy said the Quality Road mare got time off for "wear and tear" after she spent the summer at Del Mar and didn't particularly like working on the main track there, but the trainer is excited to get her back to racing.
"Coming back we just want to make sure she's happy and healthy and get her campaign underway. This week was a good place to get started, but mother nature has some other plans," McCarthy said of a torrential downpour expected Feb. 17 in Southern California. Both McCarthy and Cassidy said they'd scratch their horses should the Buena Vista be taken off the turf.
The other graded winner in the field is San Clemente Handicap (G2T) winner Mokat. Since the grade 2 score at Del Mar, the Uncle Mo filly hasn't hit the board in three starts, but all have been against grade 1 competition.
Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 18, 2017, Race 8
- 4 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
- 4:03 PM (local)
|1||1Illuminant (PA)||Victor Espinoza||122||Michael W. McCarthy||3/1|
|2||2Lily Pod (KY)||Martin Garcia||120||Philip D'Amato||20/1|
|3||3Mokat (KY)||Kent J. Desormeaux||124||Richard Baltas||6/1|
|4||4Do the Dance (KY)||Tyler Baze||120||Gary Sherlock||12/1|
|5||5Prize Exhibit (GB)||Mike E. Smith||122||James M. Cassidy||7/2|
|6||6Hillhouse High (KY)||Santiago Gonzalez||120||Richard Baltas||6/1|
|7||7Evo Campo (IRE)||Brice Blanc||120||Patrick Gallagher||12/1|
|8||8Jeremy's Legacy (IRE)||Norberto Arroyo, Jr.||120||Doug F. O'Neill||12/1|
|9||9Juno (BRZ)||Luis Contreras||120||Neil D. Drysdale||12/1|
|10||10Pretty Girl (ARG)||Corey S. Nakatani||120||Paulo H. Lobo||6/1|
|11||11Wild At Heart (KY)||Flavien Prat||120||Richard E. Mandella||12/1|