The European import promised to make her presence felt stateside in the three-year-old fillies’ turf division, all the more so when she captured the April 7 Appalachian (G2) over Regal Glory. The Mackem Bullet was building upon a productive juvenile season for Brian Ellison in England, highlighted by near-misses in the Cheveley Park (G1) and Lowther (G2). Even her sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) wasn’t bad in the circumstances.
Her prior British form would have made The Mackem Bullet interesting in a return visit across the pond. Purchased privately by Katsumi Yoshida in between her high-profile placings at two, the Society Rock filly was under consideration for Newmarket’s 1000 Guineas (G1), then Royal Ascot emerged as a possible target. Ward reportedly mentioned the Coronation (G1), or less ambitiously the Jersey (G3), but decided to keep her home instead. The 123-pound highweight reunites with Tyler Gaffalione as the 9-2 value play.
Chad Brown has the top three choices on the morning line among those entered for the turf mile – Blowout (2-1), Dogtag (5-2), and aforementioned Regal Glory (7-2).
Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who had ridden Blowout in her last pair, sticks with Dogtag. The LNJ Foxwoods homebred boasts a win over this inner turf course in last summer’s P.G. Johnson. Although Dogtag didn’t do herself justice when fourth in the Miss Grillo (G2), she resurfaced with a smashing sophomore debut in the Hilltop at Pimlico. The gray also has a mouthwatering pedigree being by War Front from the immediate family of Shamardal and Street Cry.
Peter Brant’s Blowout, a close second to division leader Concrete Rose in the Florida Oaks (G3) prior to a troubled loss in the Memories of Silver, broke through in the Wild Applause last out. The €450,000 ($482,850) Goffs weanling has considerable upside as a daughter of Dansili and French classic winner Beauty Parlour, by Deep Impact. Jose Ortiz rides from the outside post.
Paul Pompa’s homebred Regal Glory, a hard-charging second to The Mackem Bullet in the Appalachian, came back to take the Penn Oaks for fun. Never out of the top two, the Animal Kingdom filly seeks the title that eluded her dam, Grade 2 winner Mary’s Follies, who was runner-up in the 2009 Lake George. Regal Glory breaks from the rail with a returning Luis Saez.
Winter Sunset needs to improve to add to her family’s trophy haul in this race. Dam Winter Memories outclassed her opposition in the 2011 Lake George, and second dam Memories of Silver was much the best in the 1996 edition. Long highly regarded by trainer Wayne Catalano, Winter Sunset won her first two but has settled for placings in the Florida Oaks, Edgewood (G3), and the Regret (G3). Perhaps the cutback to a flat mile will help the Tapit filly, who figures to go forward with Channing Hill.
Ward’s cross-entered Stillwater Cove is at Del Mar for Saturday’s San Clemente (G2), according to the stable notes, and Jorge Abreu put in multiple dirt stakes winner Espresso Shot as the main-track-only.