Lovelorn Chopolina Ready for 2003 Debut

(from Woodbine report)
It took 2002 standout turf female Chopinina awhile to get over her broken romance, but trainer Alec Fehr feels she's ready to go for her 2003 debut in Sunday's $278,200 Nassau Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.

Fehr knew what he had to do with Chopinina when she was bitten by the love bug last year, but he wasn't looking forward to it.

Chopinina, second at 55-1 in last year's $1 million Atto Mile, was more than a handful on the training track in 2002. She refused to leave the side of Louie, Fehr's pony, on most mornings.

"It was even worse this year," said Fehr of the relationship between the two horses. "I didn't want to, but I finally had to wean her off him."

While Louie appeared to be unaffected by the 'break-up,' Chopinina, a lifetime winner of four races, didn't take it quite so well.

"She didn't eat for two days and was bitter for a week," said Fehr, with a chuckle. "But she's been training like dynamite the past while."

After closing her season with an 11th-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Arlington Park on Oct. 26, the Knob Hill Stable star returns to her surface of choice, travelling 1 1/16-miles over Woodbine's E.P. Taylor Turf Course.

"We're hoping for a firm turf, but with rain in the forecast for Saturday, we likely won't get that," said Fehr. "The way she runs, where speed is her game, she'd have more staying power on a firm turf."

The distance, however, is ideal for the 5-year-old mare. "I'm not concerned with that, but the softer the turf, the more tired she'll be."

A notorious front-running sort, Chopinina's game plan won't change, Fehr said, allowing the grey to employ her preferred style.

"I wouldn't want to change anything with her," said Fehr, of the lifetime earner of $386,626. "She gets very brave when she's on the front. We'll let her run the way she likes."

While the conditions might not be to his liking come Sunday, Fehr has faith the daughter of Lear Fan, who'll have regular rider Emile Ramsammy in the irons, can get the job the done against her nine Nassau rivals.

"She's as good or better looking than she was last year," said the Hillsburgh resident. "There's no concern about her condition at all. She's in fabulous shape. Everything is right."

$278,200 NASSAU Stakes (Can-IIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/6 mile on turf
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey
1 / Chopinina / Alec Fehr / Emile Ramsammy
2 / Mariensky / Christophe Clement / Brice Blanc
3 / Madame Cerito / John Ward Jr. / Craig Perret
4 / Five Fishes / Josie Carroll / Patrick Husbands
5 / Byzantine / Bruce Pollock / Jono Jones
6 / Hot Talent / Malcolm Pierce / Todd Kabel
7 / Strait From Texas / Michael Maker / Richard Dos Ramos
8 / First Quarter / Jim Day / Robert Landry
9 / Mulrainy / Thomas O'Keefe / Chantal Sutherland
10 / One For Rose / Sid Attard / Constant Montpellier