JUST PERFECT – PERFECT SHIRL wins for Canadians Charles Fipke and Roger Attfield – www.horse-races.net photo
Canadian Hall of Fame trainer ROGER ATTFIELD, 71, got his first Breeders’ Cup win after 14 attempts yesterday when PERFECT SHIRL stormed down the Churchill grass course and won the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf over Euro-gal NAHRAIN.
If bettors were a bit surprised (she paid $57), Attfield was totally stunned in the first interview trackside, admitting he did not think the filly had much chance over the wet grass.
Indeed, PERFECT SHIRL was only 3rd on the list of ALTERNATES for the race last week during pre-entries and it looked like Attfield did not have to worry about running Charle’s Fipke’s homebred in the race.
But as horses dropped out, Shirl got in. And that was great news after all.
Incredibly, PERFECT SHIRL has been less perfect since looking like a rising star in the summer of 2010.
Back then she reeled off three straight wins, one on Woodbine’s Polytrack over claiming runner World Cup, and then she won the Lake George-Grade 2 at Saratoga on turf.
Then it was 9 straight races and no wins.
But her best race was last time in the Canadian at Woodbine when she was 2nd to Never Retreat with a 97 Beyer Figure. The race yesterday was a wild one with ANNOUNCE being scratched before the race after she ran into the ambulance (?) and then DYNASLEW pulled up lame. MISTY FOR ME fell down on her nose at the start and STACELITA didn’t run very well. And ARUNA? Gadzooks, she fought her rider hard most of the way and was shaking her head so she had no chance.
Never Retreat, incidentally, was the leader for Horse of the Year in Canada and champion turf female and now she looks ever stronger.
Perfect Shirl is not eligible for a Sovereign Award, she raced at Woodbine only twice.
John Velazquez not only rode Shirl but also Attfield’s (far right) Grade 1 winner Miss Keller this year – aiding Attfield’s cause for trainer of the year at the Sovereigns.
Fipke kisses his girl in the winner’s circle
from Woodbine media:
November 4, 2011 – Woodbine-based Perfect Shirl stormed down the
stretch to take the Filly & Mare Turf event at the Breeders’ Cup World
Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
It is an excellent topper for the Hall of Fame career of Woodbine icon,
trainer Roger Attfield, who saddled the horse for owner-breeder Charles
Fipke of Kelowna, B.C.
It is Attfield’s first Breeders’ Cup win. “I’ve had seconds in these
races and I kept wondering if I was ever going to get it done. God bless
her, she did it for me.”
Going into the race, most observers felt Perfect Shirl would not suit
the “good” turf at Churchill, a Kentucky-bred who seemed to prefer
*firm* ground. “When I ran her on ‘good’ going before she never
really handled it that well and I thought she had to run her best race
to be competitive in here and she’s not going to be able to do that on
this turf course. When she turned down the backside I could see how
easily she was going I wasn’t worried about that then.
In fact, Attfield scratched Perfect Shirl out of the E.P. Taylor Stakes
at Woodbine last month, because he felt the ground would not suit her.
It was a race he ended up winning with Miss Keller. “We didn’t run in
that one because it was too soft, I thought, but I won it with the other
filly so it didn’t matter.”
Fipke was obviously thrilled. “It was really a team effort, the
horse, the jockey, Roger Attfield, John Phillips raising the horse.
It’s just wonderful.”
Fipke expects that Perfect Shirl, who won by three-quarters of a length
over Nahrain, will compete next year. “We will race her next year, too.
I’m sure that’s what we’ll do. We didn’t really expect to win this
against such stiff competition. The Europeans are just fantastic
horseman and horses. It was unexpected that we would win this.”
John Velazquez rode the four-year-old daughter of Perfect Soul to her
fourth career win, covering the 1 3/8 miles in 2:18.62.
She paid $57.60 to win.
Misty For Me was third.
LADY SHIRL – FROM IRISH ACRES TO WOODBINE TO RACING LORE
Noel Hickey’s Irish Acres Farm was one of the top Florida farms and source of top class racehorses for many years. It was his Illinois bred LADY SHIRL, however, that initially put him on the international map when she burst onto the grass scene and won races like the Flower Bowl and E.P. Taylor (then Nettie) Stakes.
By Hickey’s own stallion That’s a Nice, Lady Shirl won over $900,000 in a super career and she has done on to do even better as a momma.
As a broodmare, she failed to sell her first few times through the auction ring, and wound up going to Triple J. for $90,000 in 2000 at KEENOV while in foal to Theatrical (Ire). That foal turned out to be the brilliant Shakespeare, and the late Jack Werk signed a $485,000 ticket on the mare on Charles Fipke’s behalf when she was carrying a full sibling to that multiple Grade I winner. Lady Shirl has a 2-year-old full-sister to the F/M Turf winner and was bred back to Perfect Soul this year.
Oh and PERFECT SOUL is now at Norse Ridge Farm in King, Ontario, having moved from Darby Dan this month!
LADY SHIRL’S RUNNERS:
Perfect Shirl 2007 15 4 2 5 $1,390,729 6
Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf[G1]
Lake George S.[G2]
Lady Shakespeare 2006 12 7 2 1 $495,608 5
New York S.[G2]
Grey Goose Bewitch S.[G3]
Ontario Colleen S.
Mattieandmorgan 2005 7 0 2 0 $18,400 0
Fantastic Shirl 2003 19 4 7 3 $251,505 5
De La Rose S.
Shakespearesister (GB) 2002 4 2 1 1 $38,712 0
Shakespeare 2001 8 7 0 0 $1,293,780 4
Belmont Breeders’ Cup H.[G2]
Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational S.[G1]
Woodbine Mile S.[G1]
Winning Talk 1999 37 7 3 8 $113,413 1
Band Lady 1997 26 3 6 4 $151,961 0
Castle Lady 1996 0 0 0 0 $0 0
More on Shirl:
Thoroughbred Pedigree Examiner
November 4, 2011 – Like this? Subscribe to get instant updates.
The influence of top turf mare Lady Shirl, a tough competitor who notched 18 races, including the 1991 running of the mile-and-a-quarter Flower Bowl at Belmont, will be felt again this weekend when three of her descendants contest the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and the Filly and Mare Turf over the Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn course.
Lady Shirl is the dam of up-and-coming young sire, Shakespeare, a Grade I winning son of Theatrical (Ire) whose first foals raced this year. Shakespeare won seven of his eight lifetime starts from three to six, including the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at 12 furlongs, in which he defeated eventual Champion Turf Horse English Channel, and the Woodbine Mile, in which he bested the ill-fated ace turf miler Kip Deville.
MORE ON THE CUP
Well, the day started off with the most logical winner, SECRET CIRCLE, who won the BC Juvenile Sprint, but there were some wacky results to be sure and a whole bunch of bad trips.
HARD NOT TO LIKE raced very well for Canadians Garland and Marie Williamson and trainer GAIL COX. The grey gal was quite wide and that did not help but she was only beaten 3 1/4 lengths by Stephanie’s Kitten, who had been 3rd in the Natalma at Woodbine.
NORTHERN PASSION surely would have been right there in the Juvenile Fillies Turf since she beat Stephanie’s Kitten in the Natalma, but she raced in the Juvenile Fillies on the main track and she was 7th beaten 14 lengths.
ROCKET TWENTYONE was 13th in the Juvenile Fillies.
PICKS FOR TODAY’S BREEDERS’ CUP RACES!
THOROUGHBLOG picked 2 winners yesterday – the 1st and last Breeders’ Cup races – so let’s try and do better!
MARATHON (1:20 P.M.): 1- BIRDRUN 2- A.U. MINER 3- GIANT OAK
JUV. TURF: 1- SHKSPEARE SHALIYAH 2- FINALE 3-ANIMAL SPIRITS
SPRINT: 1-HAMAZING DESTINY 2-GIANT RYAN 3- BIG DRAMA
TURF SPRINT: 1- HAVELOCK 2-COUNTRY DAY 3-REGALLY READY
DIRT MILE: 1-TRAPPE SHOT 2-THE FACTOR 3-JERSEY TOWN
TURF: 1-SARAFINA 2- ST. NICHOLAS ABBEY 3-DEAN’S KITTEN
JUVENILE: 1- TAKE CHARGE INDY 2- UNION RAGS 3-PROSPECTIVE
MILE: 1-GOLDIKOVA 2- COURAGEOUS CAT 3-TURALLURE
CLASSIC: 1-FLAT OUT 2-STAY THIRSTY 3-SO YOU THINK