After months of uncertainty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Stable’s filly Sharing is more than ready to kick off her sophomore campaign.
With the opening of Churchill Downs and the announcement of a new stakes schedule, the talented Sharing will make her long-awaited 3-year-old debut May 23 in the $100,000 Tepin Stakes going one mile on the turf.
“Truthfully, we’re just thankful to have this option at Churchill. We were sort of training in the dark, so to speak, with no tangible target to aim for,” said Aron Wellman of Eclipse Thoroughbred partners. “It was more than a welcome realization that Churchill Downs got the green light and that they established a stakes schedule, which included a 3-year-old filly stake going a mile.”
Trained by Graham Motion, Sharing broke her maiden on the dirt at Saratoga Race Course in August before making the switch to grass next out in the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park. Her handy 2 1/2-length win on the Maryland track prompted her connections to send her west for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) at Santa Anita Park. The daughter of Speightstown left it all on the Southern California track and earned her first top-level victory over 13 other fillies.
With Sharing coming off a six-month rest period, Wellman said all signs point to another stellar year of racing for his filly.
“You always move from a brilliant 2-year-old year to a 3-year-old year with a little bit of guarded optimism that a young horse will be able to train on from 2 to 3 and replicate her brilliance,” Wellman said. “But all indicators are encouraging that she was going to come back as advertised. We’re really excited to see what she can do at 3.
“We had her down in Florida, and we thought it was best to get her back up north in her home headquarters at Fair Hill with Graham. She’s been training exceptionally well this past month since Graham has gotten her into a groove. We’re looking to get a good race out of her, shake the dust off, and get her competitive juices flowing again. Hopefully, she comes out of it well. By that time, we’re hoping for more of a crystallized schedule to make out a campaign.”
With many tracks still uncertain about whether they will be allowed to reopen under strict health and safety protocols, Wellman said he’s keeping all options open for Sharing, even if that means a change in surface.
“Our only midseason goal before the pandemic hit was to consider a tilt at Royal Ascot,” Wellman said. “We just read (last week) that they’re having Royal Ascot run the 16-20 of June. Depending on what happens at Churchill, the timing might be a little tough with travel and quarantine protocols. But depending on what day her race options might fall, it’s not totally out of the question that that could be a possibility.
“Right now, our sole focus is getting a useful, meaningful race in for her. We don’t know what the rest of the year has in store. That said, she did break her maiden impressively on the dirt at Saratoga last summer. Although she did do the bulk of her damage—including her Breeders’ Cup win—on the turf, and we know she’s an exceptional filly on the turf, we haven’t entirely ruled out the possibility of her maybe getting back onto the dirt at some point. Now that she’s race-ready and the fact that the Kentucky Oaks (G1) is pushed back to September, that allows for more conducive timing to keep that in play.”
Manuel Franco will have the call on Sharing from post 9.
Fourteen other fillies will test their luck in the Tepin, including a pair of runners from the barn of Eddie Kenneally. Breaking from post 2 is grade 1 winner Abscond, who enters the race off a second in the Feb. 29 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Apogee Bloodstock, Abscond stamped herself one to watch at 2 when she took the Natalma Stakes (G1T) at Woodbine in only her third start. But the daughter of Blame’s luck did not hold out through the fall, and she finished off the board next out in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Relocated to Gulfstream, Abscond opened 2020 with a third-place finish in the Ginger Brew Stakes Jan. 4 at Gulfstream before the Herecomesthebride.
Tyler Gaffalione will have the call on Abscond.
Looking to take home her third win of the year for the Kenneally barn is Outburst. Owned by Marc Detampel, TSF Thoroughbred Racing, and Rebecca Hillen, the Outstrip filly made her first two starts in France at 2 before finding her way to the United States at the start of 2020. Outburst won an allowance optional claiming race Feb. 7 at Tampa Bay Downs and followed with a victory in the March 7 Florida Oaks (G3T), where she wired the field to win by a head.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will partner with Outburst from post 7.
The connections of Godolphin homebred Alms hope she keeps her record spotless. Her four starts for trainer Michael Stidham include victories in the 2019 Matron Stakes (G3T) and Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3T) at 2. The City Zip filly won her only 2020 start Feb. 8 at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in the Shantel Lanerie Memorial Overnight Stakes over the Tepin distance.
Alms will break from post 14 under Paco Lopez.