Enola Gray

Enola Gray

Benoit Photo

Enola Gray Tries Open Company at Los Al

Undefeated filly has won her three starts by a combined 26 1/4 lengths.

After a minor illness knocked her out of the Torrey Pines (gr. III) at Del Mar Aug. 28, Nick Alexander's undefeated Enola Gray will take another shot at her first start against open company Sept. 11 in the $75,000 Beverly J. Lewis Stakes at Los Alamitos Race Course.

The homebred 3-year-old daughter of Grazen, who has won her three starts—all in 2016—by a combined 26 1/4 lengths, came back to the barn of Phil D'Amato with a cough after a morning gallop a day before the Torrey Pines, which forced the trainer to scratch her as a precaution and start her on a round of antibiotics.

After spending most of the summer at Del Mar, the California-bred filly drilled a bullet five furlongs in :59 1/5 Sept. 5 at Los Alamitos, the fastest of 17 runs at the distance that day.

"She never missed a day of training," D'Amato said. "Whatever mucous she had was more allergy-related. Her blood was always good and we were being cautious. Her last breeze at Los Al was exactly what I was looking for and we're ready to take the step up."

Enola Gray has thrived in the Cal-bred ranks since April, when she won her 6 1/2-furlong debut by 16 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita Park. She then won the 1 1/16-mile Melair Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths in May and cruised to a 7 3/4-length score in the Fleet Treat Stakes in July.

If all goes right in Sunday's six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, D'Amato said Enola Gray will continue to step up to the $250,000 Lexus Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) Oct. 22 at Keeneland.

"She's got to win and do it the right way," D'Amato said of the six-furlong Beverly J. Lewis. "Then we'll look at the Raven Run."

Although Enola Gray figures to be a formidable favorite in the short field of five, multiple challengers appear to be in good form.

Hronis Racing's Uptown Twirl is the only filly entered with experience at Los Alamitos, where she won the Surfside Stakes in April for trainer John Sadler. The Twirling Candy  filly then shipped to Northern California where she won the Pleasanton Oaks by two lengths June 18.

Also entered is Claiborne Farm's homebred Bendable, a Horse Greeley filly trained by Richard Mandella who won her first two starts at Santa Anita this year, but ran second to Luminance in a Del Mar allowance as the 3-2 favorite July 27 in just the third start of her career.

Trainer Bob Baffert, never shy to enter horses during Los Alamitos' short meets, has entered Don Alberto Stable's Jade Princess for the Beverly J. Lewis. The Tapit  filly has made her last two starts on grass—a fifth-place run in the San Clemente (gr. IIT) and a second-place allowance finish in June—but her two victories are around two turns on dirt and she'll dial back to six furlongs for the first time Sunday.

Also Sunday at Los Alamitos graded winners Toews On Ice and Kentuckian will face off in a six-furlong optional-claiming allowance.

Toews On Ice, who took the Bob Hope Stakes (gr. III) at Del Mar in November, last raced at Churchill Downs in April, when he won the William Walker Stakes. A stakes winner at Los Alamitos as a 2-year-old, the son of Archarcharch also ran second to Baffert stablemate Mor Spirit in the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) in December.

Fox Hill Farms' Kentuckian won the 2015 Lazaro Barrera Stakes (gr. III) by 6 1/4 lengths, but has yet to replicate that performance in three starts since. He ran third in the 2015 Los Alamitos Derby (gr. II) and was subsequently turned out for more than a year. Kentuckian finished a far-back eighth in his first start of 2016, a allowance turf sprint at Del Mar in July, then came in third Aug. 21 in a main-track allowance at the seaside racetrack.

Entries: Beverly J. Lewis S.

LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE, Sunday, September 11, 2016, Race 8

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $75,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 5:28 PM (local)
11Uptown Twirl (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateSantiago Gonzalez122John W. Sadler8/1
22Bendable (KY)Mike E. Smith120Richard E. Mandella5/2
33Everqueen (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateMario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill20/1
44Enola Gray (CA)Tyler Baze122Philip D'Amato2/5
55Jade Princess (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateStewart Elliott120Bob Baffert10/1