Beverly D scouting report: Coolmore
Coolmore exceeded expectations when holding on for third at odds of 16-1 in the July 9 Belmont Oaks (G1). The Aidan O’Brien trainee hustled up from a tardy start to track Catch a Glimpse through moderate splits, and kept on doggedly for the bronze.
On Saturday, the pace scenario promises to be sterner, thanks to Zipessa and Elusive Million. If Coolmore goes forward early again, she could get outpaced by the closers late. But since she was previously more of a closer, I wouldn’t be shocked if she’s held up off the pace here.
Coolmore is very consistent when she gets the right conditions. She’s yet to finish worse than third on decent ground, and even if some rain materializes at Arlington, it’s unlikely to turn the course soft enough to compromise her.
Typical for a horse of her connections, Coolmore boasts a superb pedigree, as a full sister to Gleneagles. She counts as a “full sister in blood” to Arlington Million (G1) entrant Decorated Knight: both are by Galileo, and their dams are full sisters.
The blaze-faced chestnut must have shown a fair amount of stamina in her early training, for she debuted over a mile at the Curragh at two and closed from last for third. Coolmore shortened up to seven furlongs at Leopardstown, missing by a head to Anamba on a yielding course. On better going in the seven-furlong C.L. & M.F. Weld Park (G3) at the Curragh, Coolmore turned the tables with a late flourish, apparently galvanized by the addition of cheekpieces. She concluded the season with a one-paced fourth behind star stablemate Minding in the Fillies’ Mile (G1) on good-to-soft at Newmarket.
Coolmore returned to Newmarket to open 2016 in the April 12 Nell Gwyn (G3), and again encountered a good-to-soft surface. Trying new tactics when setting the pace, she was outkicked in the seven-furlong prep and reported home fifth. Coolmore next lined up in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) at the Curragh, but threw in the only clunker of her career in a tailed-off last. While the yielding-to-soft course wasn’t to her liking, there was clearly something else to blame for her to give way as uncharacteristically as she did.
Likely wanting a step up in trip for a while, Coolmore finally stretched out to about 1 5/16 miles in the June 19 Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1). But for the fourth straight time, she caught a rain-affected track. She reverted to the front-running tactics last attempted in the Nell Gwyn, and boxed on for fifth, just ahead of her wide-traveling, deep-closing stablemate, Ballydoyle. As mentioned in the scouting report on Ballydoyle, the French Oaks form has been upheld in the interim.
Coolmore at last got firm turf at Belmont, but she couldn’t match the turbo kick of Catch a Glimpse or Time and Motion. The race shape of the Beverly D. may bring out the best in her, especially if she dusts off her closing tactics.
Of course, Coolmore is up against the historical difficulties of sophomores in the Beverly D., with Euro Charline (2014) the only one to prevail over her elders. If someone’s going to emulate Euro Charline this year, the most plausible candidate is O’Brien’s first-stringer, Ballydoyle. But if Ballydoyle’s no longer the force of old, perhaps Coolmore is ready to pick up the baton. After all, the duo could hardly have been given more telling names, and connections must have harbored high hopes all along.
Photo courtesy Arlington stakes coordinator Michael Adolphson via Twitter