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Barn Notes

Cheimon Takes On Tough Field In Boiling Springs

Posted Friday, Jun 22, 2012

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The Grade 3 $100,000 Boiling Springs Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf came up pretty salty with every one of the nine entrants having made her last start in stakes company. Moreover, one is already a graded stakes winner and four of the fillies are dropping down from Grade 2 competition.

            But trainer Elizabeth Gray is not the least intimidated.

            She’ll saddle Cheimon, who in her last start on May 27 finished fourth in the $65,000 Little Silver Stakes on the Monmouth Park turf behind Boiling Springs entrants Dancing Solo, Glamour N Glory and Senator Beck.

            “I’m excited about this race,” said Gray, who has been in the business since 1986 and took out her license four years ago after working as an assistant with Dale Romans’ divisions in Florida and New York for 15 years. “I’d like to get her some black type.”

            Cheimon, who is by Corinthian out of the Carson City mare Storm City Blues, is owned by Andrew Farm and Overbrook Farm and was purchased out of the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale for $52,000. Cheimon has been under Gray’s tutelage since last summer and she has one win and one third from five starts.

            Fresh off a two-month break, Cheimon’s performance in the Little Silver at one mile on the grass was encouraging despite trouble in the race.

            “Her numbers (speed figures) have gotten better every time out and her last race was a nice effort,” said Gray. “She’s been working extremely well since and both of her breezes were bullets. She’s coming into the race in super shape and she definitely deserves her shot.”

            When Dancing Solo, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway who is trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Little Silver, she was able to take advantage of a blistering pace. She was next to last in the 10-horse field, but as soon as Joe Bravo moved her outside, she flew down the lane and crossed under the wire in 1:34.3 for the mile on firm footing.

The pace in the Boiling Springs figures to be more honest.

            “There’s not as much speed in this race as there was in her last, so it will be interesting to see how the race unfolds,” said Gray. “But she’s got tactical speed so I expect her to run well.”

            Angel Serpa picks up the mount for the first time and will be part of the 116 pound impost for the one-mile-and-a-sixteenth race. Dancing Solo, who has been stabled here all meet, is the 118 pound high weight and will carry two pounds more than all the rest.

            “This is a very tough race and it is not a given for us,” said Anthony Sciametta, Pletcher’s assistant. “This is a different race against a different group with graded stakes horse, so we’ll see.”

            Bravo, regarded as a master judge of pace on this course, has another date with Dancing Solo. After their win in the Little Silver, Bravo said that it is horses like Dancing Solo who make him love racing.

            Somali Lemonade, the solo graded stakes winner in the field, and Zultanite are dropping down from the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont Park on May 28. Zucchini Flower last raced in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 18 and Hearts of Red was third behind Grade 1 winner Grace Hall in the Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 12. Destiny’s Child makes her first start in America after racing in stakes company in Ireland and Germany for Team Valor and will wear blinkers for the first time.

            “Yes, this race came up pretty tough, but I haven’t found an easy one yet,” said Gray.

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