While Saturday’s $75,000 Nancy Glitter Handicap at Calder Casino & Race Course is being rightly billed as a showdown between two-time local stakes winner Angelica Zapata and graded stakes-placed Canadian Mistress, there is a filly being overlooked in the race, Tonys Investments, LLC’s My Pal Chrisy, that has banked over $200,000 on the Calder main track and owns a local stakes win at the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Nancy’s Glitter.
“We always knew she was a nice filly, and she had run some good sprints, but she really liked going long, and stretching her out for those races was the best thing we’ve done with her,” trainer Tony Lutchman said, referring to last year’s $150,000 Elmer Huebeck Distaff and $75,000 Stage Door Betty victories. “She really put it together when we asked her to go long.”
Following those performances, Lutchman admittedly got a little ambitious with My Pal Chrisy, running her in a pair of stakes at Gulfstream Park before sending the daughter of Alex’s Pal on a spring journey to Kentucky where the filly competed twice, finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland and eighth in a Churchill turf allowance.
“We wanted to test her with some of the best and try her on different surfaces, to see what kind of potential she had,” Lutchman explained of the two-race trek north. “Obviously she was in with some tough horses and didn’t really like the Polytrack at Keeneland or the turf at Churchill. But we tried, and now we know. And after those races it was time to bring her back home.”
That return home occurred in the Emergency Nurse on June 9, where My Pal Chrisy crossed the wire a distant fourth, thus proving the trip north was more than just an innocuous fact-finding journey.
“In looking back on it now, the whole trip really took a lot out of her,” Lutchman said. “I think that’s why she didn’t run her best in her last; she needed that start. And I also think she’ll run much better in Saturday’s race. I think we’ll be right up there as one of the horses to beat.”
My Pal Chrisy tuned-up for Saturday’s test with a pair of morning maintenance moves, blasting through a half-mile in :48, the second fastest of 85, on June 30 before coming back with an easy four-furlong move in :50 on July 8.
“That was a real easy breeze, and she went well,” Lutchman said of her late June workout. “And then her most recent work was just to keep her fit and happy, and we really weren’t looking for too much out of it.”
My Pal Chrisy will start from post three in the Nancy’s Glitter and will be ridden by Luca Panici, a Summit of Speed day hero last weekend after riding Another Romance to victory in the Grade 3 Azalea Stakes.
CHRISTMAS FOR LIAM SHIPS TO ZIADIE BARN
Those that followed the Gulfstream Park meet in 2011 are likely to remember a horse named Christmas for Liam, a son of Saint Liam that won two allowance races at that meet by a combined 11 ¼ lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher.
But after shipping north and finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Westchester at Belmont Park, and then third in the $75,000 Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth in May, the promising colt disappeared from the scene, and has not started since.
Purchased privately by Frank Calabrese in December, Christmas for Liam shipped to the Calder barn of trainer Kirk Ziadie on Thursday, where he will soon resume training for an undetermined upcoming start.
“That’s a nice horse, isn’t it?” Ziadie said Friday when asked about the new arrival. “He’s had some minor problems, but we hope he’s over those and we’ll try to get him back to the races.”
Christmas for Liam was with trainer Nick Canani at Gulfstream Park this past winter where he recorded seven published workouts, with his last official move coming on February 13.
“He was training good, but he had his issues and was sent to the farm to get right,” Ziadie explained. “With good horses, when they run and train fast, they tend to have little problems that come up from time to time. But hopefully that’s in the past and we can get him back training, and try to find a race for him down here a little later in the year.”