It’s hard to measure the level of frustration trainer Chad Brown felt after investing the time it took to bring his Grade 1 winner Separationofpowers back to the races to launch her 3-year-old campaign last month in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, only to have all that hard work go down the drain when she stumbled out of the gate.
But all that will be quickly forgotten if Separationofpowers can bounce back Saturday at Saratoga with a victory in the Grade 1 Test Stakes. She is one of two key contenders Brown will send out in the seven-furlong dash for 3-year-old fillies, along with Alter Moon, who joined his barn less than four weeks ago after being purchased at the Fasig-Tipton July sale of horses of racing age.
Separationofpowers was an instant sensation here last summer, capturing her career debut by 11 3/4 lengths, and became a Grade 1 winner in just her third start by winning the one-mile Frizette at Belmont Park. She concluded her 2-year-old campaign by finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, after which she was sidelined for more than eight months before returning to finish a fast-closing fourth following the poor start in the Victory Ride.
“She stumbled and grabbed a quarter leaving the gate, and ran a very good race considering all that,” said Brown. “It’s all healed up, and she’s ready to go again. She’s come back with a couple of good works, and hopefully with a little more distance and a better break from the gate, it will produce a better result.”
While the Test is obviously a goal in itself for Separationofpowers, it is also a stepping-stone to longer races during the second half of the season.
“This looks like a logical spot,” Brown said. “It’s a very prestigious race, which we kind of marked down earlier this year as a target. But after this, I’d like to get her to stretch out further in distance.”
Alter Moon joins Brown’s stable off a pair of one-sided victories at Gulfstream Park that included a five-length tally in the seven-furlong Azalea on June 30.
“I’ve only had her a few weeks,” said Brown. “She came here in really good condition. She’s a good-moving horse. I’ve gotten to work her a couple of times, and the works were really solid. I wish I had a little more time with her. But the Test only comes around once in a horse’s career. She’s run three really good races since they took the blinkers off. Her numbers fit, so right now, I’m inclined to run her.”
Along with Separationofpowers, the Test brings back four other members of the Victory Ride field: Classy Act, Mia Mischief, Spectator, and Norma’s Charm, the second-, fifth-, sixth-, and eighth-place finishers behind Dixie Serenade.
Classy Act turned in a huge effort when caught late by the rail-skimming Dixie Serenade after contesting a rapid pace with the 6-5 favorite Mia Mischief in the 6 1/2-furlong Victory Ride. They figure to be part of the early mix once again in the Test, along with the undefeated and untested Minit to Stardom, who has won her first three starts by a combined 18 3/4 lengths. The 92 Beyer Speed Figure she earned in winning an allowance race at Churchill Downs in her 3-year-old debut is the highest last-out number in the Test lineup.
The multiple graded stakes-placed Kelly’s Humor, who figures to benefit from a solid pace scenario, and the lightly raced Cathedral Reader complete the well-matched field.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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