Sheepshead Bay Shooters
Hibaayeb expected in Sheepshead Bay
HIBAAYEB (GB) (Singspiel [Ire]), victorious in last year's Ribblesdale S. (Eng-G2) at Royal Ascot before taking her U.S. debut in the Yellow Ribbon S. (G1) during Hollywood Park's Oak Tree meet, will make her New York bow on May 28 in the Sheepshead Bay S. (G2), Godolphin Racing assistant trainer Rick Mettee confirmed.
Eighth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), Hibaayeb has made one start so far in 2011, finishing third in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer over Gulfstream Park's turf on April 2.
'It was a good race,'Mettee said. 'Eight-and-a-half furlongs we knew was going to be too short. She stalked the pace and got a little tired towards the end, which we knew she would coming off the layoff. She had a good winter down at Palm Meadows. The idea was to get a race in her, and the Sheepshead Bay was a logical place to run her back.'
Mettee believes Hibaayeb, whose victories in the Ribblesdale and Yellow Ribbon respectively came at 1 1/2 miles and 1 1/4 miles, will appreciate the Sheepshead Bay's 1 3/8-mile distance.
'We thought 11 furlongs would be about right,'Mettee explained. 'Hopefully it's firm ground next week. They say she's much better on firm ground than soft.'
Trainer Christophe Clement will have a full hand in next weekend's turf stakes at Belmont, with CHEETAH (GB) (Tiger Hill) and GIANTS PLAY (Giant's Causeway) in the Sheepshead Bay, MYSTICAL STAR (Ghostzapper) and NAPLES BAY (Giant's Causeway) expected for the Sands Point (G2), and AKILINA (Langfuhr) set to go in the one-mile Mount Vernon.
Cheetah began her career across the pond for trainer Luca Cumani, eventually winning a 1 1/2-mile stakes race over the Kempton Polytrack in November before joining Clement's barn. Her first race stateside was a 1 5/8-mile allowance at Keeneland, originally scheduled for the turf, but rained off onto the Polytrack.
'She won very well,'said Clement's assistant, Christophe Lorieul. 'The filly that was second (Dyna Waltz [GB] [Dynaformer]) was also in England and had very good form. We thought (Dyna Waltz) was the filly to beat and she ran really well. We'll get Cheetah back on the turf here and I don't think (the change in surface) is much of a problem. She's a filly that stays and that's mainly the key, I think. She'll go the distance no problem whatsoever.'
Giants Play, who also started off in England, has made two starts in this country, most recently running third in the March 20 Orchid S. (G3) at Gulfstream.
'I think she should have maybe been second that day,'Lorieul said. 'She's doing well and is the same (type of filly) as Cheetah, she'll love the distance as well.'
Lorieul reported that Mystical Star, second in the Herecomesthebride S. (G3) two back, was training well toward her engagement in the Sands Point. Akilina, third in the Irish Linnet S. on opening day at Belmont, was also said to be doing well as she points for the Mount Vernon.
'She came back very well from that race,'Lorieul said. 'She's a bit fitter than she was the other day and I think that's a good thing.'
On the New York worktab
Over the yielding Widener turf at Belmont Park on Monday, dual turf male champion GIO PONTI (Tale of the Cat) worked five furlongs in 1:06. Fifth in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1) in his seasonal bow, he might return for the June 11 Manhattan H. (G1).
GET STORMY (Stormy Atlantic), winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (G1) and Maker's Mark Mile (G1) in his last two, covered a half-mile in :51. The Manhattan or June 18 Colonial Turf Cup is likely next.
MORE THAN REAL (More Than Ready), last seen taking the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) in November, breezed in :49. She could head to Royal Ascot for the June 17 Coronation S. (Eng-G1).
Multiple Grade 3 winner WINTER MEMORIES (El Prado [Ire]), heroine of the Appalachian S. (G3) last month, went five furlongs in 1:03. The May 30 Sands Point S. (G2) is likely next.
Argentinean Horse of the Year INTERACTION (Arg) (Easing Along), seventh in the Dubai City of Gold S. (UAE-G2) in early March, exercised in 1:07.
Multiple Grade 3 winner MISSION APPROVED (With Approval), neck second to Gio Ponti in the Man o' War S. (G1) last July, logged six furlongs in 1:17.
Appalachian third PARTING WORDS (Artie Schiller) was clocked in 1:04 for five furlongs.
MYSTICAL STAR (Ghostzapper), runner-up in the Herecomesthebride S. (G3) two back and an allowance winner last out, completed her four-furlong move in :51 4/5. The Sands Point is next for her.
Several contenders for the May 30 Metropolitan H. (G1) worked on Belmont's fast main track.
Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner HAYNESFIELD (Speightstown), fourth in the Westchester S. (G3) in his 2011 debut, breezed in :48 4/5, while Churchill Downs S. (G2) and Commonwealth S. (G2) victor AIKENITE (Yes It's True) traveled in :48 3/5 with multiple stakes winner and Churchill Downs third IBBOYEE (Medallist). Westchester hero CAIXA ELETRONICA (Arromanches) worked five panels in :59 1/5 along with stablemate CHRISTMAS FOR LIAM (Saint Liam), while Grade 3 winner RODMAN (Malibu Moon), hero of the Irish Tower S. last out, finished in 1:00 1/5.
Blue Grass S. (G1) winner BRILLIANT SPEED (Dynaformer), seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1), worked in 1:00 in advance of a possible tilt in the June 11 Belmont S. (G1).
Multiple Group 3 winner ZAGORA (Fr) (Green Tune), third in the Jenny Wiley S. (G2) last out, finished a half-mile in :49.
JUSTIN PHILLIP (First Samurai), third in the Jerome S. (G2) and Bay Shore S. (G3) in his last two, was clocked in 1:01 2/5 for five-eighths.
Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) winner UNRIVALED BELLE (Unbridled's Song) strode four furlongs in :50 1/5 over the fast training track. She was second in the La Troienne S. (G2) last out.
Grade 2 victor BLUES STREET (Street Cry [Ire]), a nose second in the Fort Lauderdale S. (G3) in January, worked in :49 1/5.
On the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga, Sham S. (G3) winner TAPIZAR (Tapit) went in :50. He was fifth in the Robert B. Lewis S. (G2) last time.
VOODOO SWINGE (Unbridled's Song), narrowly beaten in the Miami Mile H. (G3) and Tampa Bay S. (G3) this season, stepped in :51 1/5
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