My Charmer Up for Grabs
by Jason Shandler
Date Posted: 11/28/2007 3:21:24 PM
Last Updated: 11/30/2007 9:07:14 AM

J'ray scored an easy win in the Feb. 24 Bayou Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Fair Grounds.
Photo: AP

Four-year-old fillies J'ray and Bayou's Lassie, both with graded stakes victories, and a group I winner from Chile are set for the $100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT), an evenly matched 1 1/8-mile turf test for fillies and mares at Calder Race Course Dec. 1.

Lawrence Goichman's New York homebred J’ray began her 2007 campaign in terrific form, missing by a nose in the Suwannee River Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park. She then reeled off a pair of decisive victories: a 4 ½-length score in the Feb. 24 Bayou Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), and a 3 ½-length win in the March 25 Marie G. Krantz Memorial Handicap, both at Fair Grounds.

But after another stakes-placed effort at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack in July, J’ray has struggled, finishing off the board in two ungraded stakes in New York. By Distant View out of Darshaan mare Bubbling Heights, J’ray does best when stalking the pace. In her last two tries, she was far back early.

In the My Charmer, J’ray will carry a race-high 120 pounds. She will get jockey Manoel Cruz for the first time. Trained by Todd Pletcher, J’ray has won six times in 15 career starts. Five of the victories have been in stakes competition.

Jacks or Better Farms' Florida homebred Bayou’s Lassie has made all but two of her 11 career starts at Calder. The daughter of Outflanker  has won six of those races, including the Frances A. Genter Stakes (gr. IIIT) in her final start of 2006, her only graded stakes victory. It was part of a terrific 3-year-old campaign in which she won five times in seven starts. One of the losses was a second-place finish in the My Charmer, when she was one length behind winner Anorama.

This year, Bayou’s Lassie has raced just three times, twice for trainer Christophe Clement, who took over in the summer. She was fourth in Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf at Gulfstream, sixth in the Noble Damsel (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park, and most recently just missed in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff Nov. 10 at Calder. She was second, a half-length behind My Charmer entrant Annabill.

Bayou’s Lassie will leave from post eight with Elvis Trujillo aboard. She is likely to set the early pace, along with the 4-year-old A.P. Indy filly Beautiful Daniele, who finished sixth in the Athenia Handicap (gr. IIIT) last time out, her only career start in graded company.

Two others to watch out for are Shapira and Fantastic Shirl, both with a pair of wins this year.

Edmund Gann’s 4-year-old Shapira was bred in Chile, where she began her racing career last year. After winning three times in 11 starts overseas, including once in group I competition, Shapira was sent to Bill Mott’s barn in the United States.

A daughter of Hussonet, Shapira started slowly but has been tough in winning her last two – an allowance race at Meadowlands and most recently the Oct. 14 Chelsey Flower by a nose at Belmont.

Fantastic Shirl is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Shakespeare. A Dell Ridge Farm Kentucky homebred, she won the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga this summer and was second in the Noble Damsel.

$100,000 My Charmer Handicap (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 3:28 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
1. Ms. Lydonia, 114, Manuel Aguilar
2. La Dolce Vita, 117, Javier Castellano
3. Cozzi Capital, 114, Jeffrey Sanchez
4. Redaspen, 116, Clifford D. Dooley
5. Gadolinium, 112, Luis A. Gutierrez
6. Shapira, 115, Eddie Castro
7. Beautiful Daniele, 115, Kent J. Desormeaux
8. Bayou's Lassie, 116, Elvis Trujillo
9. Fantastic Shirl, 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
10. Annabill, 116, Jorge F. Chavez
11. J'ray, 120, Manoel R. Cruz



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