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Barn Notes: Friday, July 11, 2014

| Churchill Downs Communications | 07/11/2014 #
  • A. P.'s Glory Ignites the Arlington Poly on Debut

In Today's Notes: A. P.'s Glory Ignites the Arlington Poly on Debut; Regally Bred Canadian Invader Dance Again Ready for Modesty; Schoolofhardrocks Schools Paddock for American Derby

A. P.'S GLORY IGNITES THE ARLINGTON POLY ON DEBUT

A good juvenile performance during the summer is always a proverbial breath of fresh air for any on-hand racing fan, but on Friday it was more of a gust of wind walloping onlookers in their faces as A. P.'s Glory barreled past in her debut to win wire-to-wire by a glib 7½ lengths. A homebred of Curtis Green trained under the savvy supervision of trainer Jimmy DiVito, the daughter of Mineshaft was ridden to victory by Rosemary Homeister, Jr.

"She's a classy little filly," Homeister said. "I had been working her and Jimmy had her really well prepared. She was a little green around the quarter-pole, but that's because she was out there on her own. Then, once I asked her she gave me more. She has a great head on her shoulders and I think she'll actually stretch out and go longer. I really like her."

DiVito echoed her sentiments. "She's a quality horse," he remarked. "We'll see how she goes back to the racetrack and how she is mentally. Physically she seems fine. I think she'll move up and has some quality to her. She came out of the race and ate up real good; everything seems fine."

Earlier in the meet another DiVito-trained Green homebred Tulira's Star made a similarly noteworthy debut. The victory was so impressive it caught the eye of ownership syndicate Team Valor International, to which she was subsequently sold for an undisclosed price. According to DiVito, A. P.'s Glory was outworking Tulira's Star in the mornings, but was not ready for a race at that time.

DiVito has traditionally done an impeccable job with 2-year-olds and 2014 has once again been a testament to that prowess. "It's preparation," he said succinctly. "You take them to the track and try to teach them everything. In the morning you do the best you can; you take them to the gate a few more times than someone may think is correct. You prepare them mentally and physically for the races. Then, if they can run, they will do well first time out."

A daughter of Horse of the Year Mineshaft, whose offspring often come into hand later on in their careers, out of a mare by the precocious and swift Honour and Glory, A. P.'s Glory has an intriguing balance to her pedigree. "I've never had a Mineshaft. I thought they didn't have too much speed, but this one has shown it early on," DiVito said. "She's a very smart horse with a good mind so far. She can be aggressive, but she needs that aggression when she runs. I'll work her eight to 10 days from now and we'll see where we are."

REGALLY BRED CANADIAN INVADER DANCE AGAIN READY FOR MODESTY

Sam-Son Farm, an owning and breeding giant of Canadian racing, has entered Dance Again into Saturday's Grade III Modesty Handicap. An impeccably bred daughter of Awesome Again out of a female family which includes Queen's Plate-winning granddam Dancethruthedawn and Canadian Triple Crown and Eclipse-winning great granddam Dance Smartly, expectations have always been high for Dance Again.

"She took a little while to come around," said trainer Malcolm Pierce. "She was a little backwards as a 2-year-old, but developed last summer as a 3-year-old really well. Then she finished out her season with an excellent race at Churchill." In said race – the Grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes – the bay filly defied her 55-1 odds with a charging third, finishing two lengths behind Emotional Kitten. Since, she has picked up a good allowance win at Woodbine by three-quarters of a length in her two starts of 2014. In that race, she was blocked before breaking free and winning with class.

"She got in a little trouble and was much the best in the last race," Pierce explained. "She should have won by a couple more lengths. It was a good confidence builder.

"She's doing very well," he continued. "She shipped well and arrived first thing (Friday) morning. I'm hoping for a good effort and I think (the seven post in the field of 14) is a good spot. I'd rather be there than on the inside and outside. If she comes up with her best effort, she fits."

SCHOOLOFHARDROCKS SCHOOLS PADDOCK FOR AMERICAN DERBY

Amerman Racing Stable's Schoolofhardrocks made a favorable impression on pre-race card paddock dwellers when schooling Friday afternoon at Arlington International Racecourse in preparation for his participation in Saturday's Grade III $200,000 American Derby. The Kentucky homebred son of Rock Hard Ten has the imposing height of his sire, but with an emblazoned face like that of his great grandsire Roberto. He seemed to take everything in literal stride with no indication that the trip from his California base had detracted from his energy level.

Once on the Triple Crown trail, including a fourth and fifth behind Kentucky Derby and Preakness victor California Chrome in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes and Grade I Santa Anita Derby, respectively, Schoolofhardrocks moved up significantly in his first grass attempt last out on May 31 at Santa Anita. Winning by 4¼ lengths in the allowance, the victory earned him a 104 Equibase Speed Figure and 93 Beyer Speed Figure – the highest last-race figures of any sophomore entering the American Derby. Victor Espinoza, who was aboard when the colt broke his maiden at Del Mar last summer, also ships in from the Golden State and breaks from post four.