On paper, Absatootly looks like she’s gone off form. On the track, at least in the morning, Absatootly has never been better, according to her trainer, Charlton Baker.
“If she runs like she’s doing, she’s going to be very tough to beat,” Baker said.
Baker will put his evaluation to the test when Absatootly takes on familiar foe Picco Uno and three others in Thursday’s $100,000 Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred females going 6 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga.
Absatootly has been beaten 10 1/2 lengths in her last two starts – the La Verdad at Aqueduct in January and the Dancin Renee at Belmont in June.
Her recent workouts, though, have Baker believing there is something left in the tank for the 5-year-old daughter of Mineshaft.
“The thing she’s doing now that she’s never done is galloping out,” Baker said. “As soon as she passed the wire she’d shut it down. Her last five works, she’s galloping out. She’s impressing me just by doing that alone.”
Absatootly hasn’t won since she rallied from last to win the Iroquois Stakes at Belmont last October. But she’s more versatile than that, and Baker is hoping for a different kind of trip Thursday. She gets a rider change to Jose Ortiz.
Picco Uno won the Union Avenue last year, but then went off form. Trainer Jason Servis thought Picco Uno was close to being done after finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Distaff in April. But the filly came around in her training and delivered a front-running four-length victory in the Dancin Renee.
Asked if she was doing as well now as she was then, Servis said, “Semi.”
Servis, who won two stakes last week at Saratoga, also sends out Bonita Bianca, who comes off a better-than-it-looks fifth in a stakes under Paco Lopez at Delaware Park.
“I thought Paco was going to pull her up turning for home,” Servis said. “When he went outside and the dirt stopped hitting her, she took off and got beat [3 1/2] lengths. We’ll try to get her clear of the dirt. I think she’ll come running.”
Swing and Sway, a two-time stakes winner in the slop at Oaklawn last winter, and Wonderment, who beat Absatootly in the 2017 Dancin Renee at Belmont, complete the field.
With only five runners, the Union Avenue has been carded as race 3 on Thursday’s nine-race card.
Absatootly, by Mineshaft
Last 3 Beyers: 72-64-85
◗ In a short field, price could be fair for a filly who looks off form on paper, but who has fired three bullet works out of her last five moves.
Picco Uno, by Macho Uno
Last 3 Beyers: 96-77-79
◗ Comes off a career-best race numbers-wise after looking like she was headed in the wrong direction.
◗ Won this race last year, one of three wins from five starts at this distance.
Bonita Bianca, by Curlin
Last 3 Beyers: 78-89-70
◗ Could be the best closer in the field.
◗ She is a multiple New York-bred stakes winner going a mile or farther.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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