BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Trainer Graham Motion will again send Sister Otoole from his Maryland base at Fair Hill Training Center to Del Mar, where the Florida-bred mare is two for three in marathon stakes on the turf.
For the second consecutive year, Sister Otoole will make an appearance in the Thanksgiving Day Red Carpet, a Grade 3 test for fillies and mares set for a mile-and-three-eighths on the grass. Last year, Sister Otoole was fourth in the Red Carpet won by Bellstreet Bridie (GB).
Thursday, the 6-year-old mare is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the field of seven that includes 7-2 second choice Neige Blanche (Fr) and Linda’s Gift at 5-1.
Two races back on Aug. 18 at Del Mar, Sister Otoole defended her title in the $101,000 CTT and TOC going a mile-and-three-eighths on the turf, defeating Neige Blanche in third and Symphony Perfect (Ire) in fifth. Symphony Perfect is also entered for the Red Carpet and is 6-1 in the program.
Since the CTT and TOC, Sister Otoole has one start, finishing third behind winner McKulick (GB) in the Grade 3 Waya at 11 furlongs on a yielding turf course during the Belmont at Big A meet on Oct. 7.
The consistent Sister Otoole has four wins, five seconds and five thirds from 22 career starts with earnings of $419,470 and she will be ridden from post four by Antonio Fresu, who piloted her in the CTT and TOC.
Sister Otoole is by Amira’s Prince (Ire), who stands in Florida at Pleasant Acres Stallions, and is out of O’Toole, by Distorted Humor. She was bred by Helen and Joseph Barbazon, who own and operate Pleasant Acres Stallions in Morriston.
Neige Blanche sports a field high bankroll of $625,780 but needs to improve on her last two races when fifth in the both the Grade 2 John C. Mabee won by Closing Remarks at a mile-and-an-eighth on the turf at Del Mar on Sept. 9 and in the Grade 2 Rodeo Drive won by Didia (Arg) on Oct. 7 going 10 furlongs on the turf at Santa Anita.
Her last win came in the $100,000 Possibly Perfect, also at a mile-and-a-quarter on the turf at Santa Anita, on June 18.
Neige Blanche has 10 wins and five thirds in 25 career starts for trainer Leonard Powell and the 6-year-old mare will race in the colors of owners Laura de Seroux, Marsha Naify and Mathilde Powell.
Diego Herrera will ride Neige Blanche, who is by Anodin (Fr) out of Bianca Neve (Fr), by Muhtathir (GB), from post six.
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella will saddle Linda’s Gift for owners John Cronin, Anthony DiMarco, Michael A. Mandara, Fred Nicotra and Vincent Varvaro. The daughter of Arrogate stretches out in the Red Carpet from her last two starts when going a mile on the turf.
She was second to Gracelund Gray in a second-level, $80,000 optional claiming at Santa Anita on Oct. 15 and fourth in the $85,000 Kathryn Crosby won by Dolce Zel (Fr) on Nov. 11. She returns to the Del Mar turf where she won a first condition, $40,000 optional claiming at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on Aug. 26 three starts back.
Linda’s Gift has two wins, two seconds and two thirds from 10 career starts with earnings of $134,936. Jockey Tiego Pereira will guide her from post two.
Rounding out the field for the Red Carpet are Oakhust with jockey Hector Berrios, Musical Rhapsody and Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith, With Love (GB) with Ricardo Gonzalez in the saddle and Juan Hernandez rides Symphony Perfect.
Return to Nov. 22 issue of Wire to Wire