BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Florida-bred Alternate Rock has been sent from Gulfstream Park to the Doug O’Neill barn in Southern California where she will take on nine other 3-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Unzip Me set for about six-and-a-half furlongs on the downhill course at Santa Anita Sunday.
Owned by ERJ Racing LLC, Pappas Horse Racing Corp and Starry Night Stables, Alternate Rock will be trying for her first stakes victory in the Unzip Me after two seconds in four previous starts against black-type company.
When trained by Jose D’Angelo, Alternate Rock was second to Sweet Harmony in last year’s $104,000 Colleen going five furlongs on the Monmouth Turf in July and more recently was second to Ocean Club in the $75,000 Martha Washington at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the Gulfstream Park synthetic course on June 10.
In two starts since the Martha Washington, Alternate Rock won a first level, $75,000 optional claiming at a mile-and-70-yards on the synthetic at Gulfstream on July 9 and was fourth in the $60,000 Wasted Tears overnight handicap at eight-and-a-half furlongs on synthetic on Aug. 12, also at Gulfstream.
Alternate Rock is by Alternation out of Kitzy’s Rocket, by Parading and was bred by Julia Elizabeth Sears and David Gordon Hilborn. She has four wins in 14 career starts with two seconds and a third with earnings of $179,278.
She twice passed through the ring at Ocala Breeders’ Sales, first as a yearling in the 2021 October Sale where Gerkary Bracho bought her for $32,000 out of the Beth Bayer consignment. She then did not meet her reserve in last year’s OBS March Sale from the ABG Warrior Racing Stable consignment.
ERJ bought her out of the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment for $55,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Digital Sale conducted last August.
Hector Barrios will ride Alternate Rock from post four.
Ruby Nell from the barn of trainer Richard Mandella is expected to be among the ones to beat in the Unzip Me having won two of her last three races.
The daughter of Bolt d’Oro won a maiden special weight against fillies and mares going a mile on the turf in May then won a first level, $80,000 optional claiming at a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Del Mar on July 22. Ruby Nell exits a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks won by Anisette going nine furlongs on the turf at Del Mar on Aug. 19.
Ruby Nell has won two with two seconds and a third in six starts with earnings of $138,520 and Edwin Maldonado has the return mount.
Ruby Nell will break from post six.
Glen Hill Farm will be represented in the Unzip Me by Wide West (Ire), who is trained by Philip D’Amato.
Also a winner of two of her last three, Wide West won a first level, $75,000 optional claiming going five furlongs on the synthethic course at Gulfstream on April 22 before taking the $75,000 Roar at five furlongs on the Gulfstream turf on May 20.
She then traveled to Del Mar to finish sixth, but disqualified to seventh, in the $103,000 Daisycutter sprinting five furlongs on the grass at Del Mar on July 28.
Wide West is by Frankel (GB) out of Deer Valley, by Speightstown and has won three of eight career starts with a third and earnings of $104,685.
John Velazquez will guide Wide West from post eight.
The remainder of the field for the Unzip Me includes Justique with jockey Mike Smith, Lunar Impact (GB) with Joe Bravo aboard, Free and Humble has Anotonio Fresu named to ride, Havana Angel (Ire) with Diego Herrera up, Wed (Fr) will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Fast and Shiny and jockey Juan Hernandez and Victor Espinoza has the mount on Make It Snow.
Read in the Sept. 29 issue of Wire to Wire