Tweedside Heads Even Glens Falls Handicap Field

(from track report)
Tweedside, who ran in last year's Alabama (gr. I) on the dirt as a 3–year-old, leads a dozen hopefuls in the $100,000-added Glens Falls Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares ages 3 and up racing at 11 furlongs on the grass Monday.

Tweedside emerged as one of the contenders for last year's Alabama when she cruised in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont Park by nearly eight lengths. Tweedside was unable to repeat that performance in the Alabama, however, as she was a well-beaten sixth to Flute. She beat only one horse in that race.

Trainer Todd Pletcher decided to put her back on the grass. So encouraged was Pletcher, that he entered her in the Flower Bowl Handicap (gr. I) in the fall at Belmont. But once again, Tweedside was disappointing. She was eased in the stretch.

Pletcher was still convinced that grass way the way to go here, and gave her a five-month break before bringing her back to an optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park this year. She won by 2 1/2 lengths over Peanut Gallery, another entrant in the Glens Falls.

After a fourth-place finish in the Bewitch (gr. III) at Keeneland, Tweedside took the Sheepshead Bay (gr. II) by a nose over Sweetest Thing and Golden Corona at Belmont Park. It was the first American stakes victory for her owners, Eugene and Laura Melnyk.

A month later, Tweedside was unable to repeat that performance in the New York Handicap (gr. II), where she finished fifth. She had raced wide in that blanketed finish, and when she got back to the barn after the race, Pletcher noticed there was something wrong.

"She had a entrapped epiglottis that, luckily, did not require surgery," Pletcher said. "There are several things that could cause it. But she was able to take care of it on her own and through the help of medication. Everything looks cleared up."

Tweedside was purchased for $100,000 by the Melnyks at the 1999 Keeneland September yearling sale. It was also the same year her dam, Twitchet, died after foaling Figure of Speech, a colt by Pulpit. In 16 career races, Tweedside had won six and has earned $484,791.

Tweedside has the pedigree for both distance and grass. Her sire, Thunder Gulch, was a proven winner at the classic distances when he won the 1995 Kentucky Derby, Belmont and Travers (all gr. I). Twitchet is by Roberto, who has been known for producing grass runners.

"She's more suited to run at a mile and a quarter or farther, dirt or turf," Pletcher said. "I just think she's more consistent on the turf. However, if it rains and the race comes off the grass, we'll be OK. We probably could have come back sooner. But we felt that this may be an ideal spot to freshen her up."

Also in the Glen Falls is Julie Jalouse, coming off a layoff for trainer Christophe Clement. She has not raced since winning the Orchid Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in March.

Following Jolie Jalouse's victory, Clement gave her some time off in preparation for the Sheepshead Bay Handicap at Belmont. But a bizarre accident about a week before the race on the Belmont grounds sidelined the 4-year-old filly.

"She lost the rider and got loose on the track," he said. "She crossed the street where she slipped and fell. She was bruised and sore all over her body. As a result, we missed the Sheepshead Bay and decided to give her some more time off."

Since then, Jolie Jalouse has been steadily working. Jockey Jose Santos will ride her.

"She seems to have come back okay," Clement said. "We are probably ambitious for putting her in this spot after the layoff. But she has been training well. Still, the Glens Falls will be a very good race."

Before coming to North America, Jolie Jalouse race in Ireland where she was just 2-for-7. Skymarc Farms privately purchased Julie Jalouse after her disappointing finish in the Garnet Stakes in October 2001 and sent her to Clement.

Five months later, Clement was looking for his fourth consecutive Orchid victory with Moon Queen, who was an easy winner of the Very One Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park. But when Moon Queen developed a small suspensory problem, Clement looked upon Julie Jalouse to fill in the void.

"On paper, the Orchid was not the strongest race," Clement said. "It was a pretty open race for her. If she had finished within the top three, we would have been delighted. She proved to be much better than what she showed in that race."

Arthur Hancock III's Owsley enters the Glens Falls after an off-the-board finish to Tates Creek and Voodoo Dancer in the Grade 2 Diana Handicap.

"I think what happened to us in the Diana was the short distance and a tough field," trainer Randy Schulhofer said. "She came out of that race in great shape. The added distance is really going to suit her."

Owsley won her first graded stakes race and also gave the 40-year-old Schulhofer, who took over the training duties for his father, Hall of Fame trainer Scotty Schulhofer, his first stakes victory with the New York Handicap at Belmont on Independence Day.

Owsley was also a game fourth in a previous race, the Sheepshead Bay where she was only beaten a half-length.

As a 3-year-old last year, Owsley appeared to have a promising future on the grass after finishing a close second in the Lake George. But she was unable to duplicate that performance in the Lake Placid (gr. II) Handicap and Garden City Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I).

Golden Corona, owned by Frank Stronach, has been continuously improving since being brought from Canada for trainer Joe Orseno. In her last three races against graded stakes company, Golden Corona has finished either second or third.

Shiny Band also becomes a contender in the Glens Falls if the race is transferred to the main track. Owned by Bohemia Stable and trained by Hall of Famer H. Allen Jerkens, Shiny Band beat Raging Fever in the Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont in May. She was also second to the highly regarded 3-year-old filly Bella Bellucci.

$100,000 Glens Falls Handicap (gr. III, 1 3/8 miles, Turf)
PP Horse (Jockey), Wgt.
1. Julie Jalouse (Jose Santos), 116
2. New Economy (Jerry Bailey), 116
3. Jennasietta (Mark Guidry), 115
4. Sunstone (Shaun Bridgmohan), 114
5. Quick Tip (Robby Albarado), 114
6. Tweedside (John Velazquez), 116
7. Mot Juste (Javier Castellano), 116
8. Owsley (Edgar Prado), 116
9. Lapuma (Pat Day), 114
10. Golden Corona (Richard Migliore), 115
Also Eligible
11. Peanut Gallery (Jorge Chavez), 113
12. Refugee (Mark Guidry), 113
13. Kiss a Miss (Victor Carrero), 112
Main Track Only
14. Shiny Band (Javier Castellano), 112
15. Tap Dance (No Rider), 114
16. Shouldn't We All (No rider), 112