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Who Is Camille Takes Big Step Up in Hurricane Bertie
Ron Hendrickson’s 4-year-old filly Who Is Camille was a very impressive allowance winner at Gulfstream Park last out on Jan. 4 and bids to take her game to a new level in Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3) facing such accomplished stakes performers as Golden Mystery and Emma’s Encore.
Jockey Jose A. Garcia rides Who Is Camille for trainer Marcial Navarro in the field of 11 fillies and mares going 6 ½ furlongs after they teamed up for a decisive 4 ½ lengths victory in the ‘non-winners of three’ allowance early last month in her first start since a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Leave Me Alone Stakes at Calder on June 9. Who Is Camille drew the outside post 11.
“We knew she just wasn’t right after the Leave Me Alone,” said trainer Marcial Navarro. “We suspected that she might have hurt herself in a stall accident or something like that. We had vets go over her but turned up nothing, so we decided to turn her out on a farm in Ocala for four months.
“When she came back she still wasn’t right so we got the vets to go over her again and then they figured out she had sustained an injury to her parietal bone between her ears on the top of her head. They suggested shock-wave therapy and it obviously worked. She ran a big race to win the allowance and has never been better, although we know that this race will be a big test.”
A daughter of Dixie Union purchased for $15,000 at the OBS April 2-year-old sales, Who Is Camille had obviously shown ability before she ever started and made her debut in the Catcharisingstar Stakes on turf in August of 2011, but finished eighth of 11 and hasn’t run on grass since.
After finishing second in three of her next four starts at Calder, she broke her maiden at Gulfstream almost exactly a year ago and won the OBS Sprint in Ocala in her next start in mid-March. She then finished fifth in the French Village Stakes at Calder before the Leave Me Alone.
Farnsworth Stable’s 7-year-old Golden Mystery was supposed to have finished off her highly-successful racing career for trainer Marty Wolfson winning the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint on Jan. 19 by 5 ½ lengths over Brenda Mercer and Peter Berglar’s 4-year-old Emma’s Encore.
Golden Mystery along with several other older mares trained by Wolfson for Farnsworth are consigned to the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Mixed sales to be held on Monday night in Lexington, Ky. and plans still call for her to make the trip, but not until after she runs in the Hurricane Bertie.
“We hadn’t even considered running in this race until we found out Dust and Diamonds had been retired," said Wolfson, referring to the Todd Pletcher-trained filly that won the Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) by 2 ¾ lengths here on Dec. 9 over Golden Mystery after finishing second to Groupie Doll in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita in her previous start.
“She (Golden Mystery) is still going to the sale after the race. The Farnsworth program right now is to sell the older mares and replace them with younger fillies to race.”
Jockey Luis Saez gets the return call on Golden Mystery after they teamed up for her three starts at the meet, including a victory in the $100,000 Ocala Stakes over Successful Song after the runner-up effort in the Sugar Swirl and before her Sunshine Millions victory. The daughter of Awesome Again goes into her career finale with a 37-8-7-4 record and earnings of $450,000.
Wolfson also entered three others in the Hurricane Bertie, although only one of them is likely to run. In addition to Golden Mystery he has entered Thoroughbred Futures Racing’s Nakano, Jermaine Bridgmohan; Farnsworth Stable’s Spectacular Sky, Joel Rosario; and Chasing Tails Stables’ Starship Truffles, Julio A. Garcia. Spectacular Sky and Starship Truffles are also entered in the $50,000 Manatee Stakes Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.
Jockey Junior Alvarado will be on hand to ride Emma’s Encore for Hall of Fame horseman Allen Jerkens. The daughter of Congrats won two races here last year after first coming to Jerkens as a maiden and her career took off after shipping north in the spring as she won the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park and the Prioress Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in early August.
Emma’s Encore tailed off after the Prioress when sixth with trouble at the start in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont in September and a dull try finishing eighth in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland in early October on Polytrack, a surface she made not have handled.
Emma’s Encore rallied from last of six to be second in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint. “That’s her style (closer),” said Jerkens recently. “She ran into a little bit of trouble when she made her move, but she ran well and I was happy with her race.”
Jerkens has won the Hurricane Bertie three times previously from the eight previous editions of the race, beginning with the first in 2005 with 8-year-old mare Lilah and twice more with top-class sprint mare Any Limit in 2007 and again in 2009.
The veteran stakes performers in the field may face a serious challenge from Ramona Bass’ lightly-raced 4-year-old filly Applauding, also a daughter of Congrats. Jockey Joe Rocco, Jr. will have the mount in her first appearance for trainer Michael Matz after she won all three of her previous starts for trainer Al Stall, Jr.
Applauding won her debut at Keeneland in mid-October of 2011 and then an allowance at Fair Grounds early that December. Sidelined for nearly a year, she came back with another impressive allowance score at Churchill Downs last out on Nov. 27.
Completing the field are Charles Domino’s Catch a Thief, Alan Garcia; IEAH Stables and Resolute Group’s Fantasy of Flight, Javier Castellano; E. Paul Robsham Stable’s R Holiday Mood, John Velazquez and Charles Fipke’s Munnings Sister, Joe Bravo.