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Friday, October 4, 2013
Irish import Say makes U.S. debut

Making her rounds in the walking ring outside of Keeneland's quarantine barn Tuesday morning, Say took in her new surroundings before she made her way across Rice Road to the main track for her morning activity under T.J. Comerford, head traveling lad for trainer Aidan O'Brien.

"She's very fresh this morning," Comerford said about Say, a three-year-old daughter of Galileo who cleared quarantine Monday night after arriving at Keeneland Saturday night. "She is not used to all this. We have 650 acres out in the country; no airplanes taking off close by, no cars going by (just yards from the barn)."

Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, Say backtracked once around the main track and then trotted a mile prior to the morning renovation break.

"She was very good this morning," Comerford said. "Usually when Aidan ships over here, they arrive on Tuesday, get out of quarantine Thursday, go to the track Friday and run Saturday. With fillies, they can be a little more temperamental and need a little more time to settle in."

A daughter of 2002 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup winner Riskaverse, Say is following a path set by stablemate Together. Together ran second in the 2011 First Lady and came back a week later to win the QE II. It is anticipated Say will receive an invitation this week to the QE II, scheduled for October 12.

"We have done this before," Comerford said, noting that a quick turnaround would be nothing new for Say, who ran four times in 24 days this summer. "We do not need to do too much with her here."

Say enters the one-mile First Lady off a close third-place finish in the Group 1 Matron Stakes on September 7 at Leopardstown, Ireland, going a mile against older fillies and mares. Prior to that, she won the Group 3 Dance Design, also against older rivals.

"She closed a lot of ground the last time out," Comerford said. "Before we came over, we broke her out of the gate. We have an American-style gate that we use when getting horses ready to come over for Breeders' Cup races, but in our regular training we do not concentrate as much on the gate as they do here."

Comerford said Joe Bravo would have the mount on Say in the First Lady.