Reprinted from Bloodhorse
At was more than six months since Lael’s Stables’ Chalon made an appearance on the racetrack.
“That was by design,” trainer Arnaud Delacour said of the layoff for the 5-year-old mare. “We just didn’t want to start too early in the season.” Delacour said the mare’s most recent race at Churchill Downs going seven furlongs was “probably a bit far for her, especially after the layoff, which was why we decided to bring her here.”
During a 4-year-old season that saw her hit the board in all five of her starts—all at different tracks—Chalon consistently showed up. Though she only found the winner’s circle twice in 2018, taking the April 21 Primonetta Stakes at Laurel Park and June 17 Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park, she was runner-up in her three other efforts—the May 12 Vagrancy Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park, Oct. 6 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) at Keeneland, and Nov. 3 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs—falling short by a combined margin of less than two lengths.
Breaking slow in Friday’s field of nine older fillies and mares, Chalon was hustled by jockey Javier Castellano into fourth and chased the pace. Out in front on the rail, Everlasting Secret led the way through fractions of :22.67 and :45.50 for the half-mile and managed to hold the lead and save ground around the final turn.
Advancing to the outside of the leader, Chalon took control by a half-length at the top of the stretch before drawing away. All alone at the wire, the sprinter completed the six-furlong test two lengths ahead of Everlasting Secret in a final time of 1:09.46.
“I thought it was best to be on the lead, but she didn’t break well,” Castellano said. “She’s very versatile that way—she can either be on the lead or come from behind. Last year (at the Breeders’ Cup), she just got beat at the wire against the best horses in the country.”
“Everything went well. She broke a touch slow,” said Delacour, echoing Castellano. “She’s usually a little bit more aggressive to break and get a position. It looks like Javier had to really ask her to hustle a little bit to get the position. Once she was in that spot, she was relaxed and she looked like herself. She finished very well, and it looked like she had something left.”
Hailey’s Flip was 1 1/2 lengths back in third. Anna’s Bandit, Estilo Femenino, Majestic Won, Phantom Shot, Maybe Wicked, and Last True Love completed the order of finish.
With a new slate for the 2019 season and a win already to Chalon’s name, Delacour said he will design a summer campaign for her at Saratoga Race Course in New York. The July 24 Honorable Miss Handicap (G2) and Aug. 24 Ketel One Ballerina Stakes (G1) are both possible targets.
“We’ll see how she comes back and try to map out a plan,” Delacour said. “We’re just happy to get this one out of the way. There is the Honorable Miss in Saratoga at six furlongs and the Ballerina, so those are definitely races we will consider. At the moment, we will see how she comes back, and we’ll probably run her one more time in between. We just haven’t decided where yet.”
Bred in Kentucky by J.K. and Linda Griggs, Chalon is the eighth of 10 named foals out of the Menifee mare Fall Fantasy. The mare has a yearling full sister to Chalon and foaled a Mineshaft filly April 6.
Campaigned through her first eight starts by Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and trainer Peter Miller, Chalon was consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency in 2017 to The November Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s Kentucky fall mixed sale, where she was purchased by Lael Stable for $550,000. She has a 6-5-1 record from 14 starts, with earnings of $717,295.
In other News, Tricks To Do was third in the $100,000 Jim McKay Turf Sprint. Tricks To Do was also selected by Doug for Lael.