Gloryzapper merits Breeders’ Cup consideration as a gutsy LA Woman

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October 10th, 2016

No guts, no glory, as the saying goes, and Gloryzapper illustrated the correlation with a gutsy display in Sunday’s $101,035 LA Woman (G3) at Santa Anita. By surviving a protracted pace battle and fending off all comers in deep stretch, the Phil D’Amato filly stated her case for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).

The Bob Baffert-trained Luminance, in contrast, gave favorite backers cause to worry from the start. The even-money choice didn’t break sharply, and jockey Rafael Bejarano had to roust her along to secure a position behind the leaders.

Up front, Gloryzapper and Perfect Pic were vying through fractions of :22.13 and :45.10. Brazilian import Juno chased on the outside, but ultimately could not keep pace with the top two. Although Luminance tried to challenge wider out down the stretch, she wasn’t exactly finishing with gusto, and never quite looked like getting there.

Perfect Pic finally cried uncle, and Gloryzapper began to edge clear beneath Stewart Elliott. While Wild at Heart gained late on the inside to snatch second, no one was robbing Gloryzapper of her hard-fought first stakes success. Perfect Pic held third by a head from the water-treading Luminance.

Gloryzapper, a 9-2 shot, covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.75 to advance her resume to 8-4-3-0, $225,045. By Ghostzapper (who else?) and out of the Distorted Humor mare Grand Glory, the Adena Springs-bred sold for just $15,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. Gloryzapper was second in her stakes debut in the July 3 Southern Truce over 1 1/16 miles here, and fought off Vale Dori in a one-mile allowance at Del Mar. Her lone unplaced effort came when trying turf in the September 4 John C. Mabee (G2).

Reverting to dirt, and shortening up, obviously suited her. Now the up-and-coming four-year-old deserves to take her owners – Louisiana-based Hebert Bloodstock and Andy Leggio as well as New York’s Peter Peluso – to the Breeders’ Cup.

Quotes from Santa Anita

Trainer Phil D’Amato on Gloryzapper: “She gave us a good performance. She’s always a fighter, she always pushes on. Stewart did a great job. The four (Luminance) broke a little slow so Stewart put Gloryzapper into the race early and she fought everybody off.

“I love her in this scenario. When she has her head in front of the rest of the opposition, she loves the fight. She loves to hold them off. Passing horses, she’s just OK, but she loves to be in the mix and fight them off.

“We’ll see what’s next. Maybe the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint but, we’ll see. We’ll see how she comes out of it.”

Winning rider Stewart Elliott: “She ran really well in her last out (her only start on turf) but she just didn’t have that turn of foot on the grass, like a lot of grass horses do. Phil knew it and said he would put her back on the dirt and shorten her up a bit. That’s what she’s good at.

“With the way she ran today…she got tested and she fought to win, so I could see the Breeders’ Cup as a possibility.”

Jockey Rafael Bejarano on Luminance, fourth as the even-money favorite: “She broke a little slow, so I didn’t have the position I wanted to have early.  She tried really hard, but those fillies didn’t stop.”

Photo courtesy of Benoit via Santa Anita Press Box on Twitter