Source: TDN, 9/30/2017

‘TDN Rising Star’ Paradise Woods was back to her brilliant best with a 5 1/4-length romp in the 1 1/16m GI Zenyatta S. at Santa Anita Saturday, a “Win And You’re In” for the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar next month. Bet down to 1-2 at the off in the scratched down field of four, the rangy daughter of Union Rags rabbited straight to the head of affairs one off the rail and threw down splits of :23.13, :46.89, while tracked distantly by Motown Lady and Faithfully. The latter moved up to second on the far turn as Motown Lady faded, but Paradise Woods was still well in front through three-quarters in 1:11.50. Untroubled under a mostly motionless Flavien Prat down the lane, the crowd’s pick crossed the line well in front of Faithfully. It was another 13 1/4 lengths back to Motown Lady (Uncle Mo) in third. Midnight Toast (Midnight Lute) trailed throughout.

“I wasn’t as confident [going into this race], not in her ability but the fact that she’s kind of gone south, mentally, on us,” commented Hall of Famer Richard Mandella. “We had to get through some hard times, and we did. She responded. It was a lot of schooling. This was a relief. I was worried something would go wrong again, but it went right.”

“I have to give [co-owner] Marty [Wygod] a lot of credit,” he said. “He actually convinced me to go to the longer race. I was kind of leaning towards the sprint and just keeping my options open. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have worked her the seven furlongs the other day. She took it well but you never know if it’s going to work until you run ’em. The [Breeders’ Cup] Distaff [at Del Mar Nov. 3] is the goal.”

Paradise Woods completed the exacta when unveiled behind fellow ‘Rising Star’ Delitefull Lady (Dialed In) sprinting six panels locally in January and earned her own ‘Rising Star’ moniker with a 4 1/4-length win in an Arcadian maiden special weight at second asking Mar. 11. A runaway 11 3/4-length winner of the GI Santa Anita Oaks next out in April, the bay threw in the towel to be 11th after setting the pace as the favorite in the GI Kentucky Oaks beneath the Twin Spires May 5. Given some time off, the Richard Mandella trainee stumbled at the start of the GIII Torrey Pine S. and ran sixth upon her return at Del Mar Aug. 27. She fired a six-panel bullet in 1:11 3/5 (1/33) over the strip here Sept. 23.

“It was a lot different today,” said Prat. “Last time [in the Torry Pines] was very bad and nothing went well. Today she broke just a tad slow, but she got going and really relaxed for me on the backside. We’ve been working on her relaxing because she has a tendency sometimes to be very aggressive.”

Pedigree Notes:

Paradise Woods is one of seven stakes winners by GI Belmont S. hero Union Rags (Dixie Union), whose oldest foals are 3-year-olds, among them fellow Grade I winners Union Strike, and Dancing Rags. Her unraced dam Wild Forest had already produced the SW Forest Chatter (Dixie Chatter) by another son of Dixie Union, while Wild Forest is a half-sister to MGSW Tajaaweed (Dynaformer). Wild Forest has a yearling filly by Blame, who sold for $350,000 at the recent Keeneland September Yearling Sale to Alex and JoAnn Lieblong and was covered by Palace Malice last spring but did not produce a foal. This year she was covered by Union Rags and Vancouver (Aus). The third dam Long Legend (Reviewer) produced MGSW & GISP sire Mr. Greeley (Gone West), as well as SW Majestic Legend (His Majesty). GI Kentucky Derby hero Street Sense (Street Cry {Ire}) and GI Humana Distaff heroine Mona De Momma (Speightstown), as well as the Zenyatta third-place finisher Motown Lady are also in the extended family tracing to Long Legend.  Fourth dam Lianga (Dancer’s Image) was a champion, G1SW and highweight filly in France, and she is the third dam of MG1SW and recently deceased leading sire Danehill Dancer (Ire) (Danehill).

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