McDove struggled Friday night at Emerald Downs. She never really got going and finished sixth in a seven-horse field of $15,000 claiming fillies and mares.
Kiss My Lulu, the 6-to-5 betting favorite, led all the way and won easily by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:16.93 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The official order of finish: 1st-Kiss My Lulu, 2nd-Listo, 3rd-Our Silver Lining, 4th-Trinni, 5th-Guardian One, 6th-McDove, 7th-Justitia.
McDove was next to last on the backstretch, raced four-wide through the turn, and made up virtually no ground in the stretch.
It’s a bit disappointing. McDove is a better filly than she showed Friday night–she was competitive with Exit Sixty Slew and Jerre to Carrie earlier in the season, and both of those horses are four-time winners at the meet. And she also finished right behind Kiss My Lulu back on April 22.
Sharon Ross and jockey Javier Matias expressed disappointment with McDove’s unwillingness to settle off the pace (which is called being “rated” in the vernacular) Friday. McDove was very aggressive early and wanted to rip, but she doesn’t have the natural speed to keep up in a race like Friday’s. Had Matias let McDove go early, she would have run out of gas in the stretch.
Also, McDove was racing with a different bit in her mouth Friday. She wore what’s called an elevator bit, which is used on horses that frequently leans into the bit or pulls against the reins. McDove’s been a handful for both jockeys and exercise riders this year, and the hope was that she would settle nicely with the different equipment.
Sharon is fairly certain McDove didn’t bleed Friday, so that’s good news.
We’ll have to let the dust settle and regroup. We should be able to get another race out of McDove this year, and hopefully we can get the racing secretary to work on filling a route race (one mile or longer) for fillies and mares in McDove’s category.
I’ll check in with Sharon tomorrow and send out an update Saturday night.
Thanks for hanging in there!