Flirting Bridge (IRE) winning the featured Woods Edge Purse at Keeneland April 12. (Coady Photography)
Anaconda training forwardly towards G3 Poker
ELMONT, N.Y. – Heider Family Stables’ Grade 1-placed Flirting Bridge (IRE) worked a solo half-mile in 48.33 seconds over the Belmont inner turf Sunday in preparation for Friday’s Grade 1, $600,000 New York, a 10-furlong turf test for older fillies and mares here.
“She looked like she got over the track really well,” said trainer Brendan Walsh. “It was nothing fancy. She’s in good shape and she’s ready to go. We just had to give her a little spin.”
The 5-year-old Camelot mare closed out her 4-year-old campaign by crossing the wire third in the 10-furlong Grade 1 E. P. Taylor at Woodbine Racetrack where she landed a neck back of the victorious Rougir and was shaded for second by Queen’s Plate-winner Moira. She was elevated to second after Moira was disqualified and placed eighth.
Flirting Bridge made her seasonal debut with a 1 1/4-length allowance score on April 12 traveling 1 1/16-miles over good Keeneland turf.
“She was very progressive last year, and I feel she’s progressed again this year,” Walsh said. “I was very happy with her race in Keeneland, and it seems like she’s coming into this in great shape. Hopefully she’ll run her race. If she does, I can’t see her being too far away.”
The well-bred bay, out of the Danehill Dancer mare Rachevie, is a half-sister to Helvic Dream, who won the 2021 Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and Walsh said Flirting Bridge could be ready for a Grade 1 triumph of her own.
“This was always going to be a better year for her, and I think she’s finally starting to put it all together,” Walsh said.
Flirting Bridge, purchased for $60,303 at the 2019 Goffs Sportsman’s Yearling Sale, sports a ledger of 14-3-3-2 for purse earnings of $270,521.
Three Diamonds Farm’s stakes-winner Anaconda breezed a half-mile in 49.67 seconds Saturday over the Belmont Park dirt training track in preparation for the Grade 3, $200,000 Poker, a one-mile turf test for older horses, on June 10 at Belmont Park.
“He worked super and we’re all systems go,” said trainer Joe Sharp. “We’re looking forward to the race. He keeps taking all the steps forward. He’s one of those horses that likes his job, so that makes our job easier.”
The dark bay son of Pioneerof the Nile was last seen landing his first career stakes triumph by a nose over Yes and Yes in the seven-furlong Elusive Quality on May 6 over the Belmont turf. He finished second in the Danger’s Hour going the Poker distance in April at Aqueduct Racetrack and posted that same result in November in the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship.
Sharp said the 6-year-old Anaconda has thrived while under the care of his New York-based assistant Lorita Lindemann.
“I tell you; he really seems to do well in the smaller barn with Lorita,” said Sharp. “He thrives in that environment with personalized attention. It makes him feel important. He’s a little bit older and he likes the extra time spent with him. He’s gotten in a good rhythm and continues to do well.”
Anaconda will make his second outing in graded company. His lone start at that level was a ninth-place finish in the Grade 3 Thunder Road in February at Santa Anita Park where he was defeated 3 3/4 lengths after running evenly throughout.
Out of the winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Lawn Party, Anaconda is a half-brother to 2018 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies third-place finisher Stellar Agent.