“This should be interesting. I don’t know if she’s ever been on an off track.”
That was trainer Charlie LoPresti Thursday morning as Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) hopeful Salama tried out a sloppy, sealed track at Keeneland.
Jockey Julien Leparoux was aboard the Kentucky-bred daughter of Desert Party as she covered a half-mile in :48.80, posting fractions of :12.60 and :25.20 with a five-furlong gallop out in 1:02.40 and six furlongs in 1:16.20.
Salama earned an all-expenses paid trip to the Distaff when capturing the “Win & You’re In” Clasico Cesar del Rio (Per-G3) at Peru’s Hipodromo de Monterrico on June 21, and has been working at Keeneland under LoPresti’s watchful eye since July.
“They were looking for a trainer who is based at Keeneland most of the year so she would not have to ship around before the Breeders’ Cup,” said Fernando Macchiavello, a Peruvian native who lives in Lexington, Kentucky, and represents owner Stud Santa Maria as well as assisting other horsemen from Peru who are involved in the Thoroughbred industry.
Salama joined LoPresti’s barn on July 27 and posted her first official move at Keeneland on August 22. However, Thursday was the first time the bay filly had to train over Keeneland’s main track when it wasn’t listed as fast and she passed that test with flying colors.
“She was knocked out for a couple of days from the trip, but after four or five days she was bucking and squealing,” LoPresti explained about his new charge. “Since the first of August she was pretty much on the same seven-day schedule as Wise Dan.
“She has been push button since Day One. She is a big, tall filly and has done everything right. It is like she has been here all along. She is a class act.”
LoPresti explained that, once it was determined she would ship to the United States, Salama’s Peruvian connections began training her “American-style” before the three-year-old miss ever step hoof on the plane. In South America, horses generally are ridden with saddles only for fast workouts and races. The rest of the time, they are ridden without a saddle.
Salama photos courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography