Is Nuovo Record ready for her close-up on Red Carpet?
The 2014 Japanese Oaks (G1) winner over Harp Star, Nuovo Record hasn’t won since defeating males in the Nakayama Kinen (G2) in early 2015. But the daughter of Heart’s Cry has been thereabouts in several marquee events in the interim, including a near-miss in last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Kyoto (for the second straight year) and a second to compatriot A Shin Hikari in the Hong Kong Cup (G1). Even her fourth in the August 21 Sapporo Kinen (G2) wasn’t bad off the layoff, especially considering that Japanese Horse of the Year Maurice was runner-up.
Unfortunately, Nuovo Record failed to live up to any of those gaudy formlines in the Breeders’ Cup, and she trudged home a subpar 11th of 13 at Santa Anita. Trainer Makoto Saito has a theory about what happened.
"She was in good condition and was able to sit nicely after jumping out well," Saito told japanracing.jp. "But she was not able to adjust to the quick pace of the race, and with a tight track, it was disappointing that she unable to take any breath during the race."
But racing manager Hiroshi Ando told Del Mar publicity that there was another factor.
“It was hard ground at Santa Anita and we think she didn’t like it,” Ando commented. “In my opinion she didn’t try.”
The pace promises to be much more leisurely in the Red Carpet, and if she’s more comfortable over the Jimmy Durante turf at Del Mar, perhaps we’ll see the real Nuovo Record on Thursday. If she’s lost her zest for the game, as Graham Pavey (@LongBalltoNoOne) has wondered aloud on Twitter, then we’re all just grasping at straws for explanations.
In another key change from the Breeders’ Cup, Nuovo Record now reunites with jockey Yasunari Iwata, who hasn’t been aboard for her past three. She’s run very well for Iwata in the past, and perhaps her old partner can revive her. Nuovo Record, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, projects a ground-saving trip from the rail.
Although the Red Carpet represents class relief, it’s not as easy a spot as you might think for the grade. The 5-2 morning-line favorite, Arles, brings a world-class pedigree and some enticing credentials to the Thanksgiving table. Formerly based in Germany with Andreas Wohler, the Monsun filly counts as her third dam the legendary Allez France.
Arles, runner-up to top-class Nightflower in last year’s Diana-Trial (G2), captured a listed stakes at Hanover in June. More significant to her prospects here, the Team Valor/Green Lantern recruit made an encouraging U.S. debut when flashing home for second to Suffused in the Glens Falls (G3) over this trip at Saratoga. That form’s stacked up quite well, for Suffused missed narrowly in the E.P. Taylor (G1), and fourth-placer Photo Call went on to upset Tepin in Keeneland’s First Lady (G1).
Remaining stateside and joining Graham Motion, Arles will keep Glens Falls rider Joel Rosario aboard. She’s drawn right next to Nuovo Record in post 2.
British import Frenzified, by the all-time great stayer Yeats, enters in good heart for trainer Jim Cassidy. Successful in the course-and-distance CTT and TOC H. two back over Generosidade, she exits a third in the Rodeo Drive (G1). South American Generosidade found the 1 1/4-mile Rodeo Drive unfolding too fast for her, but the added ground should help her in this spot. The distance also suits New York invader Swear By It, a closing third in the Dowager (G3) and close fourth in the Long Island H. (G3) in her last pair. Fresh Feline, beaten a neck in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) earlier this campaign, is one of those knocking on the proverbial door.
Into the Mystic, a Galileo filly out of Group 2 scorer Tamazirte, has yet to perform up to those bloodlines, but Hall of Famer Richard Mandella is likely to secure black-type for her at some point. Sophomore fillies Barleysugar and Dreamarcher, third and a troubled sixth respectively in the Autumn Miss (G3) last out, are taking their first serious examination of stamina. Rounding out the field are the Felipe Souza’s longshot duo of Ginga and also-eligible Backintheacademy.
Nuovo Record photo courtesy and copyright Japan Racing Association