Bling on the Music enters Saturday’s $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs with a perfect three-for-three mark.
Trainer J.R. Caldwell is hoping the gray lass exits four-for-four.
“As a two-year-old she was a sale topper at the Texas Stallion sale and we thought that she was going to be great from the get go,” Caldwell stated.
Bling on the Music began her career in her native state of Texas, breaking her maiden by 4 3/4 lengths on May 19 at Lone Star Park before showing up July 9 to take the Texas Thoroughbred Futurity by 8 1/2 lengths.
A trip to Colorado and 13-length victory against the boys in the Gold Rush Futurity at Arapahoe Park soon followed, good for a 97 BRIS Speed rating and even loftier dreams from Bling on the Music’s connections.
“She does everything with ease,” said Caldwell, who just earned the first graded win of his career when saddling Texas Chrome in last weekend’s Super Derby (G3) at Louisiana Downs. “She’s handled everything unbelievably and we’ve got to take that next step up.”
The “next step up” is the Pocahontas, which both kicks off the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races for the 2017 Kentucky Oaks and awards an automatic berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on November 5 at Santa Anita Park.
Bling on the Music will have to stretch out past six furlongs to 1 1/16 miles for the Pocahontas, but Caldwell doesn’t seem concerned.
“I don’t think that will be a problem,” he said. “With her running style she just does everything so easily. When we call on her, she shows up every time. She runs strong and gallops out strong.”
Among those lining up against Bling on the Music Saturday is Ever So Clever from the barn of two-time Pocahontas winner Steve Asmussen.
“I think that Ever So Clever is a very top class filly,” Asmussen declared. “Obviously with us going in the Pocahontas, we have the comfort of knowing that she likes the racetrack. We expect for her to make a good performance on Saturday.”
Ever So Clever broke her maiden under the Twin Spires on July 1 by 7 1/4 lengths but didn’t do so well when weakening to fifth, beaten 11 lengths, in the August 19 Adirondack Stakes (G2) next out at Saratoga.
“It didn’t work out,” Asmussen shrugged. “I’ve learned to not overreact to a good or a bad race at Saratoga. We obviously expected better but hopefully we can back on track on Saturday and I think she’s been waiting for the opportunity to run around two turns.”
A total of 10 fillies have been entered in the Pocahontas and only one, Dream Dancing, has gone the 8 1/2-furlong distance. However, that came on the Saratoga turf.