HARVEST MOON UPSETS FIGHTING MAD & TAKES GRADE II, $200,000 ZENYATTA STAKES BY THREE QUARTERS OF A LENGTH; CALLAGHAN & PRAT TEAM FOR 1 1/16 MILE WIN 1:43.03
UNCLE MO FILLY SETS SIGHTS ON GRADE I BREEDERS’ CUP DISTAFF NOV. 7; RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2020)–The lone 3-year-old in the field, trainer Simon Callaghan’s Harvest Moon stalked heavily favored Fighting Mad early and took charge turning for home en route to a rousing three quarter length score in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes, a pivotal steppingstone to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
With Bob Baffert’s Fighting Mad, a recent gate to wire Grade I winner going to the early lead as expected, Harvest Moon fell into a perfect stalking trip from her number three post in a field of four fillies and mares. Lapped just outside the favorite in the run up the backstretch, Harvest Moon glided alongside Fighting Mad mid-way around the far turn and held Hard Not to Love safe late for the win.
“We thought Fighting Mad would go to the lead and we wanted to keep pressure on her,” said Prat, who has now guided her to four consecutive wins. “My filly had never been a mile and a sixteenth, but Fighting Mad was carrying 126 pounds. You never know with a three-year-old against older, but we got eight pounds, so that was good. It turned out this was a good distance for my filly and she really ran well.”
A 1 ¼ length winner of the Grade III Torrey Pines stakes versus sophomore fillies going one mile on Aug. 22 at Del Mar, Harvest Moon was the third betting choice at 7-2 and paid $9.80 and $5.60 (no show wagering).
“We have been really patient with her early on and that’s a credit to Alice (Bamford, breeder and co-owner) and Michael Tabor (co-owner),” said Callaghan. It was said that this filly has a lot of talent and they were so patient throughout the whole process. She took her time to come to hand, but she’s come a long way in a short period of time.
“(Running in the Zenyatta) certainly looks like a good decision now. Myself and Alice, along with everyone else, chatted and we felt at this stage keeping her here, receiving weight from Fighting Mad, was the right thing.”
A 3-year-old bay filly by Uncle Mo, out of the Shamardal mare Qaraaba, Harvest Moon notched her second graded stakes win and her fourth overall win from five starts. With the winner’s share of $120,000, Harvest Moon roughly doubled her earnings to $240,720.
“I’m absolutely thrilled today, completely over the moon for Harvest Moon!” said Bamford. “She’s a homebred and she’s just so deep in my heart and in my family’s heart. It was so good to see her so well ridden today, showing off her beautiful stride…We lost her mother this year, Qaraaba, who (was) a stunning, stunning filly and each time I tell her, ‘Harvest Moon, go and do it for your Mama.’ And she has.”
The actual second choice in the race at 7-2, Hard Not to Love was a close third throughout and edged by the favorite late by three quarters of a length for second money while returning $5.60 to place with Mike Smith up.
Fractions on the race were 23.37, 46.51, 1:10.21 and 1:36.11.
Named for the legendary mare that remained unbeaten and became the only distaffer to ever beat the boys in the Breeders’ Cup Classic by taking the 2009 running at Santa Anita, Zenyatta would then became Horse of the Year in 2010 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs. The Zenyatta is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland Nov. 7.