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Barn Notes: Saturday, November 22

IN TODAY'S NOTES: REGALLY BRED EXODUS FULL OF PROMISE FOR JONES; PACIFIC PINK POSSIBLE FOR LOUISIANA CHAMPIONSHIPS AFTER DEBUT WIN; VASYUTOV MAY MOVE TACK TO FAIR GROUNDS

REGALLY BRED EXODUS FULL OF PROMISE FOR JONES

            Fox Hill Farm’s Exodus looks to fulfill his considerable promise and lofty pedigree when he embarks on his second outing Sunday afternoon in the seventh race at Fair Grounds – an open juvenile maiden over six furlongs.  By Travers Stakes winner Medaglia d’Oro – sire of Grade I winners Rachel Alexandra, Marketing Mix and Plum Pretty – out of multiple Grade I-winning seven-furlong specialist Stop Traffic, Exodus sold for $600,000 to Fox Hill principal Rick Porter at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga Sale in August 2013.  The swift half-brother to 2013 Whitney Handicap winner Cross Traffic signaled his readiness with a bullet work on Nov. 18, negotiating five furlongs in a :59.80.

            “He’s in on Sunday and he’s doing very well and coming into this good,” said trainer Larry Jones.  “He’s really coming along.  He just got a little tired in that Keeneland race, which I must say kind of surprised me.  I thought that once he made the lead he would go on with it, but at Keeneland you can hook up with some very good horses.”

            On debut at said Lexington track on Oct. 3, the bay colt showed good speed throughout, took the lead mid-race and proceeded to finish a game third, beaten 2¼ lengths by highly regarded Ambidextrous Alex in a sharp 1:10.40.  The effort earned Exodus a 72 Beyer Speed Figure and an 88 Equibase Speed Figure. 

            With an eye on the lucrative sophomore graded stakes program that commences in January, Jones is optimistic that his charge will be up to the challenge. 

“We expect him to be one of our classic contenders down here, but only time will tell,” he explained.  “We’re pretty high on him and have a lot of expectations.  I don’t think he’ll have any problem getting two turns.  I have two half-sisters to him and one wants to go long and the other (allowance winner Thirteen Arrows) acts like she wants to be a little bit of a sprinter, but she’s by Indian Charlie.  The way he trains, he’ll definitely stretch out.”

PACIFIC PINK POSSIBLE FOR LOUISIANA CHAMPIONSHIPS AFTER DEBUT WIN

            Excellent opening night debut winner Pacific Pink might be headed for Louisiana Champions Day on Dec. 13 following a sharp performance under the Fair Grounds lights Friday evening.  Trained by Eddie Johnston for Keith Plaisance and ridden by apprentice Andre Ramgeet, the tall dark bay filly stood out in the paddock and was bet to 2-1 favoritism.  After a subpar break, the daughter of Private Vow tipped out at the top of the stretch and overtook six of her competitors to win going away by three lengths. 

            Possibly next could be the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Lassie over six furlongs, but Johnston – keenly aware that he has a quality pupil in Pacific Pink – is quick to note that such is still a mere possibility.  

“She’s nominated, but it’s a long step away from what she did last night,” he explained.  “I won’t get overzealous, but we’ll look at the stakes.  I take my time and pick the right spots with my horses. 

“We nominated her to give her first preference in the maiden race and also to see what we had with her.  She came running really well, is a big filly and (an offspring of) Private Vow – and most of those go long.  I knew she’d be running at the end and once she got loose she sure did.”

A $90,000 purchase at Ocala earlier this year, Pacific Pink is a half-sister to two stakes winners – including graded stakes-placed sprint mare Fearless Leader – and hails from the female family of 2012 Louisiana Derby runner-up Mark Valeski and 2014 Risen Star Stakes runner-up Albano.

“I didn’t know she was that expensive or her background,” Johnston said.  “I just let (the owners) pick the horses and I train them – it works better that way.  (Plaisance) always brings me quality horses and does a great job of weeding out the bad ones.  I have 20 of his and he’s a first-class owner.”

If Johnston and Plaisance decide to be more conservative with the Pelican State-bred Pacific Pink, she could resurface in a December allowance.  “If we don’t go (to Champions Day), we’ll look at the non-winners of two at six (furlongs) and then look at going two turns with her.  I think she’ll develop,” Johnston concluded.

VASYUTOV MAY MOVE TACK TO FAIR GROUNDS

Internationally successful jockey Sergey Vasyutov is considering a move to the Fair Grounds during the 2014-15 meet.  During a career that has seen him ride in over 2,000 races in Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia and the United States, the well traveled journeyman has won 564 races and was second in the 2005 Polish Derby. 

The top Polish apprentice rider of 1996, Vasyutov has also worked in England for multiple Group I-winning trainer Ed Dunlop – famous for training international superstars Ouija Board, Snow Fairy and Red Cadeaux – and made 123 starts in 2013 in the United States.  At the 2013 Arlington International Racecourse meet, Vasyutov won 5 races in 58 starts while primarily riding for conditioner Gennadi Dorochenko