Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions on the rise

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Steve An­der­sen

DEL MAR, Calif. – Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions has come a long way in one year.

At this time last year, Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions was fight­ing a lung in­fec­tion that forced him out of train­ing. He was a maiden with an un­cer­tain fu­ture.

“We fooled around try­ing to get it un­der con­trol,” trainer Peter Eur­ton re­called Sun­day. “We weren’t get­ting any­where. We prob­a­bly wasted two months.”

Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions was a maiden un­til Me­mo­rial Day. Satur­day at Del Mar, Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions won his stakes de­but in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien at seven fur­longs. The win gave Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions an au­to­matic berth to the Breed­ers’ Cup Dirt Mile here on Nov. 3.

Eur­ton said in the win­ner’s cir­cle that stretch­ing out to a mile in the Breed­ers’ Cup “could be good for him.”

Owned by Ryan Ex­line, Justin Bor­der, and Dan Gatto, Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions has won 3 of 4 starts this year. A 4-yearold New York-bred colt, Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions won a maiden race for state­breds at Bel­mont Park on May 29 in his first start of the year, and an al­lowance race for state­breds there June 8. He was sec­ond in an op­tional claimer here at a mile July 19 in a prep for the Pat O’Brien.

“Af­ter two races in New York, I let him down a lit­tle bit,” Eur­ton said. “I didn’t do a lot with him com­ing into here.”

In the Pat O’Brien, Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions ($11.40) closed from sixth in a field of 10 to win by 1 1/2 lengths.

Eur­ton said Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions will be con­sid­ered for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Cham­pi­onship on Oct. 7.

Stel­lar Wind may skip BC prep

Stel­lar Wind, the win­ner of con­sec­u­tive Grade 1 races for fillies and mares in Cal­i­for­nia, may not start again un­til the Breed­ers’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar on Nov. 3.

Trainer John Sadler said over the week­end that Stel­lar Wind could ben­e­fit from a break of three months from her lat­est start, a win in the Grade 1 Cle­ment Hirsch Stakes on July 30.

“Stel­lar Wind could train into the Breed­ers’ Cup,” Sadler said. “She runs so well fresh. I’m not 100 per­cent sure what we’ll do.”

If Sadler fol­lows through with the plan, Stel­lar Wind will skip the Grade 1 Zeny­atta Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 30, a race she won in 2016. In the 2016 BC Distaff at Santa Anita last Novem­ber, Stel­lar Wind broke slowly and fin­ished fourth be­hind the cham­pi­ons Be­holder and Song­bird.

Sadler might run Shenan­doah Queen in the $300,000 Zeny­atta. Shenan­doah Queen, like Stel­lar Wind owned by Kosta and Pete Hro­nis, won her stakes de­but last Fri­day in the $78,545 Tran­quil­ity Lake Stakes at Del Mar for fillies and mares at a mile on dirt.

Ap­pren­tice, 38, wins de­but

Maria Fal­gione’s bucket list has one fewer item.

The 38-year-old ap­pren­tice jockey won with her first ca­reer mount when Tee Em Eye ($13.60) closed from off the pace in a $16,000 claimer at Del Mar on Satur­day. Af­ter an awk­ward start, Tee Em Eye ral­lied five wide on the turn to take the lead in the fi­nal fur­long.

“It’s the most in­cred­i­ble thing that’s hap­pened to me,” Fal­gione said an hour af­ter the win.

Fal­gione is a full-time ex­er­cise rider for Mike Ma­chowsky, who trains Tee Em Eye.

Af­ter the race, Fal­gione was mobbed by friends in the win­ner’s cir­cle and on the path to­ward the jock­eys’ room, with many stop­ping her for pho­tos and con­grat­u­la­tions.

A native of South Carolina, Fal­gione has a life­long back­ground with horses, but has been an ex­er­cise rider for only three years. She worked as an ac­tress, and at one time played the bride in “Tony and Tina’s Wed­ding” at Planet Hol­ly­wood in Las Ve­gas.

Fal­gione and Ma­chowsky be­gan talk­ing about start­ing her rid­ing ca­reer ear­lier this year. Fal­gione was set to have her ca­reer de­but ear­lier this month, only for her mount to be scratched. It’s un­clear how fre­quently she will ride.

Spawr fined, sus­pended

Trainer Bill Spawr has been sus­pended 30 days and fined $3,000 as part of a set­tle­ment agree­ment with the Cal­i­for­nia Horse Rac­ing Board af­ter Skye Di­a­monds showed an ex­ces­sive amount of clen­buterol in a test taken af­ter her sec­ond-place fin­ish in the Grade 3 Ado­ra­tion Stakes at Santa Anita on May 7.

The sus­pen­sion be­gins Mon­day and con­tin­ues through Sept. 26. Spawr is banned from the race­track and sta­ble area dur­ing the sus­pen­sion. His barn will be run by his as­sis­tant, Dar­ryl Rader.

Spawr, 77, was sus­pended for 60 days, but 30 days of the penalty was stayed pro­vided Spawr does not have any pos­i­tives for med­i­ca­tions in classes 1, 2, or 3 through Aug. 25, 2018. Clen­buterol is a class 3 med­i­ca­tion.

BENOIT & ASSOCIATES

Gi­ant Ex­pec­ta­tions, run­ning a stakes for the first time, wins the Pat O’Brien on Satur­day.

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