Gilbert G. Campbell’s Girl From Glan makes her stakes debut in the $65,000 Pica Slew Stakes for 3-year-old fillies this Saturday at Calder Casino & Race Course, and trainer Kathleen O’Connell believes she is ready for the challenge.
“She seems to be stepping up to the plate as we go along, which is always exciting,” said O’Connell. “She seems to show more maturity now than what she did before.”
The six-furlong Pica Slew drew an overflow field of 16. Girl From Glan drew post position 12 for her stakes debut with jockey Eduardo Nunez named to ride. Nunez was aboard the filly for her first two career starts at Calder, while jockey Antonio Gallardo rode her in her 3-year-old debut at Tampa Bay Downs.
“I’m not excited about running out of the 12-hole, but it is what it is,” said O’Connell.
Girl From Glan blew away the field in her career debut at Calder last October in a 5 ½-furlong maiden claiming race. She won by 8 ½ lengths after fighting for the lead and then clearing away. She returned the month after to run in a 6-furlong starter allowance and finished second while coming from racing off the pace to advance to second down the stretch. In her 3-year-old debut on January 25 at Tampa in a 5-furlong allowance optional claiming race, she rated behind the leaders and advanced into the stretch and steadily moved ahead to cross the wire ¾ of a length in front.
“She seems to be a tactical runner,” said O’Connell. “At Tampa she laid a little more off the pace. When he asked her, she moved. Hopefully, we’ll get good positioning the first part of the race being in that size of a field. It was easier, obviously, to get positioning in the shorter field at Tampa, but she’s learning every race, and I just figured even though she’s still eligible for the one-other-than condition that she deserved a shot.”
In other notes on the O’Connell barn, the star duo of Scandalous Act and My Brown Eyed Guy returned to the work tab on February 17 for the first time in 2014 for their 3-year-old campaigns. Scandalous Act, who swept the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series in 2013 at Calder as a 2-year-old, and My Brown Eyed Guy, who won the first two legs of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series in 2013 at Calder for the boys as a 2-year-old, worked three furlongs in :39.60.
“We’re just getting them back into shape,” said O’Connell. “It’s too early to map off anything off one 3/8. The first work back I always have 3/8, really easy, non-descript. They shouldn’t have lost a whole lot of time. I’m happy they both put on weight and everything and we’ll just go from there.”
Scandalous Act has not raced since finishing sixth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November at Santa Anita Park, while My Brown Eyed Guy last ran fifth in the Juvenile Sprint Stakes last November at Gulfstream Park.
O’Connell said the schedule of races for the pair’s 3-year-old campaign has not yet been decided.