Musical Chimes Tests Males in Oak Tree Mile

(from Santa Anita notes)
Musical Chimes, poised for a possible return trip to the Breeders' Cup, will challenge males for the third time for trainer Neil Drysdale in Saturday's $250,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT) on the Santa Anita turf.

Three of the last five winners of the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) prepped with victories in the Oak Tree Mile, including the Drysdale-trained War Chant in 2000. The Hall of Fame trainer hopes to pull off a similar feat with Musical Chimes.

"It's a matter of timing if we hope to make the Breeders' Cup," Drysdale said, explaining the filly's 11th-hour prep against males.

Drysdale and owner Maktoum Al Matktoum would like to try Musical Chimes in the Breeders' Cup Mile, depending on how she performs Saturday. They could also put her on the dirt in the BC Distaff (gr. I).

The Oak Tree Mile is exactly three weeks before the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park. Musical Chimes was 11th in last year's Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).

Musical Chimes, a 4-year-old daughter of In Excess, was seventh going a quarter-mile longer against the boys in the Charles Whittingham Handicap (gr. IT) June 12 at Hollywood Park. But she bounced back to beat fillies and mares in the John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) at Del Mar July 24. She was second by a half-length in her first start against males in a May 4 allowance race.

She will carry the high weight of 121 pounds with Kent Desormeaux in the saddle.

The other two horses to win both the Oak Tree Mile and the Breeders' Cup Mile were Silic in 1999 and Val Royal in 2001, both trained by Julio Canani. Canani saddles the French-bred Tsigane in this year's race. Tsigane won the Daytona Handicap at Santa Anita Feb. 15.

$250,000 Oak Tree Breeders Cup Mile (gr. IIT), 3 & up (turf)
1. Gondolieri, Tyler Baze
2. Buckland Manor, Rene Douglas
3. Musical Chimes, Kent Desormeaux
4. Needwood Blade, Danny Sorenson
5. Royal Price, Jon Court
6. Singletary, David Flores
7. Tsigane, Jose Valdivia Jr.
Musical Chimes carries 121 pounds. The others carry 119.