Miss Terrible Makes Circuitous Gamely Return

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Multiple stakes winner Miss Terrible, who returned to action after a 17-month absence with back-to-back graded stakes wins, will ship west for the $350,000-added Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park on Monday.

The 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare worked five furlongs at Keeneland Wednesday.

"I got her in 1:02 1/5, the last quarter in 24," said trainer Bradley Ross by phone after the drill under Mike Smith, who will ride her in the Gamely. "She looked great. She had some stomach discomfort over the weekend, but she looked like she is over whatever it was that was bothering her."

Ross said Miss Terrible would be flown to California Friday for the Gamely, which is for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

The Gamely will continue an unlikely saga for both the trainer, a long-time blacksmith who has won back-to-back stakes with his one-horse stable, and the mare. Miss Terrible began her United States career with a fourth-place finish in the 2003 Gamely and has taken a circuitous route back for a second chance.

Coming to the U.S. with a glittering resume after winning eight of nine 2002 starts, seven of them victories Group I, Miss Terrible earn championship honors in Argentina. She was purchased privately by Carol and Charles Hammersmith of Elburn, Ill., and sent to the Bobby Frankel stable here.

After her fourth-place finish in the Gamely, Miss Terrible was transferred to trainer Wesley Ward and finished a distant sixth in an allowance race at Saratoga in August 2003.

The mare disappeared from the radar until Ross, who had shoed horses for 35 years in the Chicago area, began training her. "She didn't acclimate well in this country," said Ross. "When I got her last June, we X-rayed her knee, found a little old crack and gave her three months off."

Ross, 52, returned her to training at Arlington Park and Hawthorne Park and shipped her to Santa Anita in January, where she won the Las Flores Handicap (gr. III) in February. Then she was shipped from Hawthorne to Kentucky to win the Distaff Turf Mile (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs on May 7.

"She's a high-strung filly and needs a lot of attention," said Ross. "She and I really connected. We're hoping she will do a little better in this race than she did two years ago."

Ross is a new name in thoroughbred training but no novice around horses. "I've been around horses all my life," he said. "I have a picture of me holding Gallant Man when I was a kid. I rode dressage horses and jumpers before I went to shoeing."

He admits that training Miss Terrible has been a series of adventures. "Every time there is a race, there is always something," said Ross. "Maybe it's a good sign. The day we entered for the Las Flores, she coughed. The week before the race in Kentucky, she had a major reaction to a shot and came down with hives and had big welts on her. So maybe her upset stomach last weekend is a good sign."

The trainer is anxious to showcase the filly in grade I company. "She is such an incredible horse," he said. "I really would like the world to get to know her. It's been an exciting trip. Everyone has been so nice to me and my one-horse stable."

Megahertz, the 124-pound highweight and 2004 Gamely runner-up, worked five furlongs in 1:02 1/5 on the main track Tuesday under regular exercise rider Marco Ramirez for trainer Bobby Frankel, seeking a record seventh Gamely victory.