LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Shortly after Grace Hall won the Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga in early September, trainer Tony Dutrow was already looking forward to the filly's 3-year-old season. He seemed indifferent about running in the Breeders' Cup.
In the eight weeks that have passed, Dutrow's attitude has changed and now he is very much looking forward to running Grace Hall in Friday's $1 million Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.
"If I owned the filly myself and with no one else to answer to, I would be the first one to enter the race,'' Dutrow said Sunday morning by phone from Delaware Park.
Dutrow spoke shortly after Grace Hall finished her major preparations for the Juvenile Fillies by working four furlongs in 49 seconds over a sloppy Delaware Park main track. The steeplechase jockey Xavier Aizpuru was aboard for the work.
"She got over that track as smooth as she could have. She was just awesome,'' Dutrow said. "I know that talking about them doesn't make them run faster. I'm just telling you what I saw this morning.''
Dutrow trains Grace Hall for a partnership that includes Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and The Elkstone Group.
Grace Hall, a daughter of Empire Maker, is 3 for 3 with a maiden win at Delaware, the Grade 1 Spinaway and a 5 3/4-length score in the Blue Hen Stakes on Oct. 1 at Delaware. The Blue Hen was an opportunity for Grace Hall to run around two turns against a modest group.
"At that point we were definitely committed to the Breeders' Cup,'' Dutrow said. "As I've taken her from the Blue Hen to the Breeders' Cup, she has excelled, she has matured, she has grown, she has put on weight. She is as awesome as I could possibly want her.''
Grace Hall was expected to ship from Maryland to Kentucky on Monday along with Juvenile favorite Union Rags and defending Filly and Mare Turf winner Shared Account.
Weemissfrankie, the undefeated New York-bred winner of the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita, arrived at Churchill just around 12:30 p.m. Sunday with a full contingent of Southern California-based horses.