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Trainer Jim Hilling from California lent me some fascinating insights into the training methods and successes of the great conditioner Eddie Neloy, who trained the Phipps family horses from the early 1960s until Neloy’s death nearly a decade later. For a portion of that time, Hilling was part of Neloy’s training team.

In that time, Neloy conditioned champions such as Buckpasser, Queen of the Stage, Vitriolic, Bold Lad (through part of his career), Numbered Account, and others.

One morning in May 1967, Neloy started a pair of 2-year-olds on their paths to becoming racehorses at the track. The two fillies were named Bravissimo (1965 Bold Ruler x Batter Up, by Tom Fool) and Lovely Morning (1965 Swaps xMisty Morn, by Princequillo).

A pair of outstanding young prospects, the two fillies teamed up to jog and gallop in company, later progressing to galloping alone. These were baby steps in the larger program to allow each young race prospect to show her talents. Neloy doubtless saw more than the bare record indicates because neither had much impact on the racing news during their time in training.

From three seasons of training, Bravissimo was a winner on the racetrack from nine starts, unlike her two full brothers Three Bagger and Bold Hitter. The latter was unraced but became a useful regional sire and sired a top-class juvenile colt in Dimaggio.

Sent on down the line to other breeding programs, Bravissimo did acceptably well. She produced stakes-placed Bravo Native (by Restless Native) and Late to Rise (by Executioner).

Lovely Morning, on the other hand, earned rather a different response. She never made a start, but surely Neloy had seen something in her early work because she retired to stud for Wheatley Stable at Claiborne Farm and went immediately to the top of the tree. Her first two foals were by Bold Ruler (sire of Lovely Morning’s half-brothers Bold Lad and Successor). These were also the last two crops by Bold Ruler.

Lovely Morning’s first foal was the colt First Dawn, a winner four times, with nine placings from 28 starts. Aside from soundness, there might well have something good there because the mare went to the Bold Ruler stallion Reviewer for her third live foal, which was named Resolver.

The bay filly was third in the G1 Matron and G2 Alcibiades as a juvenile and finally managed to squeak home first in a stakes as a 4-year-old.

As a producer, Resolver became a very important producer, with Flamingo Stakes winner Time for a Change (Damascus), Champagne winner Adjudicating (Danzig), and Kentucky Oaks winner Dispute (Danzig) the top items in an exceptional producing career.