You’ve got to be a little bit light on your feet to be a horse trainer.
Horses get hurt; races don’t fill; owners grow cranky. Or a pandemic strikes, and you’re stuck in the stall for two months.
Consider the case of the Lacey Gaudet-trained Long Point Beach. The three-year-old filly, a Maryland-bred by Golden Lad, is, at 15-1 on the morning line, the longest shot in Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Delaware Oaks. In addition to its graded status and gaudy purse,
Gaudet acknowledges it’s no easy spot.
“It’s going to be a lot for her to win,” Gaudet said Friday. “I’d like for her to get a fair trip and give an honest run.”
Of course, a one-two-three finish wouldn’t be bad, either. The money’d be nice, and the graded black type would certainly boost the value of a filly who cost $50,000 at auction – and who’s by one of the more promising young regional sires.
Long Point Beach, whom Gaudet described as a “big, gorgeous filly,” made her debut in September of 2019 and finished second twice before earning her diploma on December 1 at Laurel Park. She followed that up with an allowance win on January 10.
“Our plan went ideal,” Gaudet said.
Until it didn’t.
There aren’t many things to do – other than stakes – with three-year-old fillies once they win an allowance, and Gaudet pointed Long Point Beach at the one-mile Beyond the Wire Stakes at Laurel March 14.
But she came up with a foot abscess, forcing Gaudet to scratch her from that contest. Two days later, Maryland racing went on hiatus on orders from the Governor because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It didn’t return until the end of May.
As racing returned, Gaudet had hoped to put her charge in a Maryland-bred allowance that showed up on the overnight as an extra. But that race didn’t get close to filling, Gaudet said.
That left her with Plan B – the Delaware Oaks.
“There’s not many places to run her,” Gaudet said. “Might as well try for some graded company.”
On paper, it certainly looks to be a tough assignment. Long Point Beach’s speed figs don’t really stack up with those of the better fillies in the Oaks. And she’s nowhere near as accomplished the likely betting choices, a group that includes Grade 3 winner Comical and last-out stakes winners Piece of My Heart, the 2-1 morning line choice, and Laurel-based Princess Cadey.
On the other hand, Gaudet’s been high on the horse from Day One and thinks “she’ll love the distance.” With half of her sophomore season already gone – and some of it lost to the coronavirus – there’s no time like the present.
Veteran rider Feargal Lynch has the mount, and Gaudet expects the duo will be up close early in the race.
“And we’ll take it from there,” she added.