Friday, September 17, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . Friday, September 17, 2004 . . . With post positions set and competition known, trainers and owners of some leading contenders weighed in with their thoughts on the Kentucky Cup races tomorrow.
Dale Romans on Roses in May (Classic-GII) and Angela’s Love (Turfway Breeders’ Cup-GIII): "With six- and seven-horse fields there are not really any bad post positions, so I'm happy with where we drew.
“In Angela's Love’s race, I think Mayo On the Side, definitely, and David Vance's horse [La Reason] are the horses to watch.
“With Roses in May, I think it is clearly our race to lose. Cole Norman's horse Pie N Burger has been a consistent type, though, and has earned a lot of money in his career."
When asked his thoughts on whether Roses in May should be considered for an Eclipse Award, Romans said, "I think that should probably come down to the Breeders' Cup, where hopefully all the best will be there to decide it."
Dogwood Stable’s Cot Campbell on Heckle (Sprint-GIII) and United (Juvenile-GIII): "Heckle was out for 13 months with his ankle surgery and a couple of other things. When he came back in Saratoga we thought he ran a brilliant race. We would have been happy if he ran fourth beaten four lengths, but he ran second beaten a nose.
"He's a horse that has an erratic form, and he's had his issues in his past, but when he is feeling good, then he is a really good horse, and I think he's doing great. We thought that this would be a good spot for him because we know that he can get the six-furlong distance of this race, and he has been training good so we landed in this spot.”
Looking toward the future, Campbell said, "In racing it is always good to have a long term plan, and I think our dream for a long term plan would be the Breeders' Cup Sprint. [Heckle] would have to run a brilliant race, but I think he is very capable of doing that. And we know the kind of success this race has had in producing Breeders' Cup horses.
"We were originally going to run [United] in the Breeders' Futurity but when this race [Juvenile-GIII] didn't come with any gangbusters we figured we'd take a shot. He's entering this race on short rest but I think he ran a good race last time on the turf in the stake at Monmouth. The leader just got loose on the lead and couldn't be caught. I think he is definitely a horse who will appreciate two turns, and he has shown a liking for the slop, should it rain.
"He reminds me a lot of Limehouse, the way he runs with a lot of heart, and besides his first race he always seems to run hard, and put in a game effort.”
Ralph Nicks on Sequoia Grove (Juvenile-GIII)) "He's in good shape. It's obvious that Wayne's [Lukas] horse [Storied Cat] should be tough. They're usually a little stronger coming from Saratoga. George Weaver's horse [United] is stakes placed. We're just trying to see what kind of horse we have and seeing if he can stretch out and how he can run with this kind of company."
Sequoia Grove, who flew under the radar as “who’s in and who’s out” unfolded earlier in the week, has a first and second in two lifetime starts, both at Ellis Park. He lost his debut by a nose, and then came back to break his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths, going wire-to-wire over six furlongs on September 4. He's a son of Storm Cat out of the Capote mare Lilly Capote and is owned and bred by James Spence. Robby Albarado will be aboard.
Ian Wilkes, assistant to Carl Nafzger, on Carmandia (Juvenile Fillies) and Mayo on the Side (Turfway Breeders’ Cup-GIII): "She's [Carmandia] just learning how to run and she's coming around. The filly is doing as good as can be expected. This race will be her first time around two turns and going from maiden to stakes company can be tough. We have a good rider [Albarado], which really helps. This is her first stakes race; after this we'll see where she stands."
Carmandia has a first and a second in three lifetime starts. She broke her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths in her last start on August 8 at Ellis Park. She's a daughter of Wild Rush out of the Mining mare Her Secret. She's owned and bred by Buckram Oak Farm.
[Mayo On the Side] is going into the race good,” Wilkes said. “When you get into stakes competition, they all [other runners] are legitimate. We have to fear them all. Luck is the key. If things go our way, she's got a big chance. She's had a long year, so we gave her a little freshening for the fall campaign.”
When asked about Breeders’ Cup plans for Mayo on the Side, Wilkes said, “We'll have to take it one race at a time. She's going to have to run huge tomorrow and step up this race. Then she'll probably race again and have to step up again."
Mayo on the Side hasn't raced since finishing fourth of five in the Go For Wand (GI) at Saratoga on August 1, a race won by two- time Eclipse Award winner Azeri, with Sightseek second. Mayo on the Side has earned a little more than $550,000 in her career, going 7 for 24 and finishing in the money 17 of 24 races. Owned by Lothenbach Stables Inc., she is a daughter of French Deputy out of the Slew o' Gold mare Slewveau. Robert Lothenbach is the breeder.