Trainers and owners alike dream of having a runner at the Breeders’ Cup World Championship – the first weekend in November it’s where everyone wants to be.
In her first full season as a trainer, Alice Haynes ticked that box when Lady Hollywood took her place in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint over 5.5 furlongs at Keeneland on Future Stars Friday, 4 November.
The filly is no stranger to travelling overseas to race, having won in Naas, Ireland and Paris-Longchamp, France prior to her American adventure.
Alice said: “She travelled over really well. She only lost 3kg which she put back on within two days and she’d put on a further 2kg by race day.
“I knew she wouldn’t mind travelling and that’s a big part of having the right horse for these big international meetings – it’s not just their ability, they also need the temperament to deal with the ordeals of travelling and settling into a new environment and not be fazed by that.
“She was A-1 out there.”
The English and Irish horses were in quarantine together from arrival on Sunday and there was a great comradery amongst everyone there. The excitement was building up as the days passed.
The horses had easy days, just hand-walking, on Sunday and Monday before they were allowed out on the track the following day.
Lady Hollywood’s pre-race prep went smoothly. On Tuesday, she went on the training track and had a gentle hack to get used to her new surroundings. On Wednesday, she had a stretch on the grass and Thursday, she jumped out of the gates. Alice rode her every day.
“I always like to have a hands-on approach. I know her so well from riding her at home and I just wanted to make sure she was in good order – her usual self.”
The owners, Amo Racing and Omnihorse Racing arrived on Thursday, and they all had a nice dinner together – Kia and the team also had horses running with David Loughnane, Richard Hannon and Paulo Lobo.
Race day for Lady Hollywood was just fantastic. The team were delighted to secure one of America’s leading jockeys, Umberto Rispoli, to ride her.
She dwelt a fraction at the start and took a keen hold, racing mid-division on the inner rail and closed to chase the leaders hitting the 2-furlong pole.
With a furlong to go, Umberto riled her up to make a challenge in third position, but she was overtaken in the final 100 yards to finish fifth of 12 to Godolphin’s Mischief Magic.
Alice said: “We were all absolutely over the moon with her performance.
“They broke the track record, and she was up there the whole way – she saw it out, just fading the last 100 yards. If she’d jumped better, maybe she would have gone even further.
“Umberto tried his heart out; he gave her a great ride.
“Of course, you’d like her to get placed, or win, but she ran a great race.”
Lady Hollywood is now likely to stay in America and race for one of Amo Racing’s trainers there.
“I think she is good enough to win a Grade 1 or Grade 2 in America. There are so many options out there, she likes the turning tracks, and she has a lot of speed. American racing will suit her.
“I’ve had a bet that she will win a Grade 1, so I hope to get paid out on that!
“The whole experience of the Breeders’ Cup was amazing.
“Cody’s Wish is a beautiful story and Flightline is one of the best racehorses of our time, winning in Secretariat-like style. The speed they went when they jumped off, and the whole way around, was unbelievable. To quicken off that gallop as he did was hugely impressive.
“I love America, I would happily train out there. There are abundant opportunities and the prize money out there is fantastic.
“Having my first runner at the Breeders’ Cup has been a great experience and only given me the appetite to have more. Lady Hollywood has done us all proud and I have taken a lot from this experience, too.
“I have learned what you need to be competitive here and will hopefully go to Santa Anita next year.”