Asi Siempre Must Be at Her Best to Repeat in Spinster

Asi Siempre Must Be at Her Best to Repeat in Spinster
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Asi Siempre is part of a stellar 2007 Spinster lineup
If Asi Siempre is to defend her $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) title Oct. 7 at Keeneland, the El Prado mare will have to do it against a loaded field of 11, including three rivals with grade I wins this year.

Trained by Patrick Biancone, Asi Siempre, out of Siempre Asi, has lost three consecutive graded stakes, all of them on dirt. Her most recent effort was a well-beaten sixth in the Delaware Handicap (gr. II).

But Martin Schwartz’ 5-year-old, who has earned nearly $1 million in her career, has had good success on the Keeneland Polytrack, winning not only the Spinster last year but the Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) April 18 for her only victory in 2007.

A winner in seven of 20 starts, Asi Siempre took second in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) last year but was disqualified and placed fourth. A Spinster victory will earn her a trip back to the Breeders’ Cup Oct. 27, as part of the “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

Julien Leparoux will ride Asi Siempre, whose first 14 races came on turf. She leaves from post five in the 1 1/8-mile event.

There is no shortage of quality challengers in the talented Spinster field. Chief among them are Lady Joanne, Panty Raid, and Sugar Shake, all with grade 1 wins in 2007.

Lady Joanne, a 3-year-old filly by Orientate   out of Oatsee, has been red hot, winning five of her last six starts. The only blemish was a half-length loss to Octave in the June 30 Mother Goose Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Most recently, Lady Joanne, who is trained by Carl Nafzger, took the Aug. 18 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga by a neck, in the process exacting revenge on Octave. Calvin Borel will ride the Bentley Smith homebred, who has never been off the board in nine career starts. She broke her maiden on Keeneland's Polytrack by 6½ lengths last year.

Panty Raid is another 3-year-old filly having a superb year. The daughter of Include   out of Adventurous Di has won three of her six starts in 2007, two of them in graded stakes. Her win in the July 7 American Oaks Invitational (gr. IT) on the Hollywood turf came while stalking the pace

In her last start, the Todd Pletcher-trained Panty Raid tired in the stretch while Lady Joanne took the Alabama. Garrett Gomez will get the mount for the first time.

Stronach Stables’ Sugar Shake was off to a great year after winning her first two starts at Santa Anita Park, the El Encino Stakes (gr. II) in January and the Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) the following month. After three months on the sidelines, the 4-year-old Awesome Again  filly was a half-length loser to Teammate in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont. But her 13¾-length loss in her most recent try, the Aug. 24 Personal Ensign (gr. I), leaves question marks for trainer Bobby Frankel.

Teammate is also in the Spinster field, but the Shuvee was her last victory. Since then, the 4-year-old A.P. Indy filly has lost four straight. However a 1¼-length third-place defeat in the Sept. 8 Ruffian Handicap (gr. I) gives owner-breeder Joseph Allen some hope. Allen Jerkens trains, while jockey Cornelio Velaaquez gets the mount from the rail.

Irish invader Naissance Royale, Illinois-bred Rolling Sea, 2006 Spinster third-place finisher Promenade Girl, High Heels, Altesse, and Solo Survivor complete the field.

$500,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, 5:25 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Teammate (KY), 123, Cornelio H. Velasquez
2. Panty Raid (KY), 120, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Sugar Shake (KY), 123, Rafael Bejarano
4. Naissance Royale (IRE), 123, Ramon A. Dominguez
5. Asi Siempre (KY), 123, Julien R. Leparoux
6. Rolling Sea (IL), 123, Robby Albarado
7. Promenade Girl (MD), 123, Rene R. Douglas
8. Lady Joanne (KY), 120, Calvin H. Borel
9. High Heels (KY), 120, Joe M. Johnson
10. Altesse (KY), 123, Eibar Coa
11. Solo Survivor (KY), 123, Mark Guidry




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