Life Talk makes the grade with a win in the Demoiselle (Chelsea Durand)
By Lynne Snierson – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Repole Stable’s Life Talk made a bold statement in Saturday’s Grade 2, $250,000 Demoiselle, a nine-furlong event around two turns for 2-year-old fillies, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, who won his record extending ninth Demoiselle and fourth in a row, Life Talk notched her first graded stakes score with a front-running victory and earned 10 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks in May. Shimmering Allure, the runner-up 3 3/4 lengths behind, earned five Oaks points, and the New York-bred Dolomite picked up three points for finishing another length back.
Life Talk, who chased probable Champion Just F Y I, in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November at Santa Anita and the Grade 1 Frizette in October on the Aqueduct racing strip in her last two races, took advantage of her experience around two turns. Dispatched as the even-money favorite in the field of eight, the daughter of Gun Runner out of the Bernardini mare Touchy Feely left the gate alertly and from then on dictated the race on the front end while being piloted by a confident Irad Ortiz, Jr.
When Shimmering Allure, who was hung out wide on both turns, came at her inside the eighth pole, Life Talk had plenty left and responded by kicking clear. Life Talk, who set moderate yet steady fractions of 24.10 seconds, 48.65, 1:13.10, and 1.38.12, crossed the wire in 1:51.10 for the 1 1/8 miles on a muddy and sealed track.
Ortiz, Jr. said about the splits, “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. So relaxed waiting for me, three-eighths pole, I got nobody around and I feel like I still have plenty. I don’t call her yet, I don’t even move my hands on her and as soon as I did, she took off, she responded.
“It is great to see her back in this performance, because it was a great race [in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies], because she ran so good to get beat last time,” added Ortiz, Jr. “She got beat by three lengths and she come back maybe a little quick after that tough race, flies back all the way here but we have a great team, they all do a great job, the assistants and the trainer. She was one hundred percent. She’s learning. She’s learning every time she runs. We saw a little more experience so I think it helps, because she broke so clear, I didn’t have to use her too much, she was full of energy by the quarter pole.”
Amelia Green, assistant to Pletcher, said the game plan put together by the Hall of Fame trainer was executed to perfection by Ortiz, Jr.
“With how the track’s playing today, you need to get position and like Irad said, she warmed up good and he made the most of it,” Green said. “No one else wanted the lead, so he made the most of that situation. She seemed happy out there and did everything very professionally.”
Shimmering Allure, who is trained by Ken McPeek and was ridden by Junior Alvarado, won the one-turn mile Tempted here on November 5 but was second best on the day.
“I think she gave me hell of a run today but the track was kind of playing speed, so I kind of had to break out of there and put her a bit closer – then I could’ve saved around the first turn. Coming into the second turn, I didn’t have any chance to go on the inside. I had to keep going very wide,” Alvarado said. “She was very good today. She broke good, I asked her a little bit and she put herself very close. Normally she has been running a little bit off the pace from behind and when she put herself in that position, I decided to stay there that close with her since the track is playing a little fast today. She never gave up, she kept digging in all the way through the wire and was trying to go after that horse in front.”
Dolomite, an Alpha Delta Stables homebred trained by Chad Brown, was stepping way up in class and distance after an impressive seven furlongs maiden win over the track on October 22.
“My filly ran really well. I was happy with my trip. I was stalking and followed the winner the whole way, I was just third best. The winner was much the best,” said rider Manny Franco of the third-place finish.
Most of All took two Oaks points for running fourth and New York-bred Caldwell Luvs Gold earned one point in fifth place. Vino Rouge, Ringy Dingy and Cozee Rags rounded out the order of finish. Caress was scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Gun Runner Syndicate, Mulholland Springs, and Tom Grether Farms, Life Talk banked $137,500 in victory while improving her record to 5 2-1-1. She returned $4 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Sunday at Aqueduct with a nine-race card featuring the $125,000 NYSSS Staten Island in Race 7 and the $125,000 NYSSS Thunder Rumble in Race 8. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.