Six undefeated juvenile fillies will enter the Saratoga starting gate for a very contentious $200,000 Adirondack Stakes on Saturday.
All six won their only start. Four of them – Virginia Eloise, Lyrical Lady, Grandma Gertie, and Sue’s Fortune – did so in dominant fashion. Mucho Amor was a hard-fought winner of her debut more than 3 1/2 months ago at Keeneland, while Guacamole earned her diploma via a somewhat controversial stewards’ disqualification of the original winner of the final race here on the July 26 card.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out Virginia Eloise and Guacamole in the Grade 2 dash at 6 1/2 furlongs.
Virginia Eloise, a daughter of Curlin, has been pointed to the Adirondack since she slipped through along the rail to a five-length maiden win at Belmont Park going six furlongs July 5. She is the only member of the field to have run farther than 5 1/2 furlongs.
“I thought she showed a lot of professionalism in her debut coming up the fence, and I think with her pedigree stretching her out will be in her favor as well,” said Pletcher, who trains Virginia Eloise for the partnership of St. Elias Stable and McB Racing Stable.
“Having had a race at six furlongs is probably a little advantage, as long as there is an honest pace and nobody gets loose. There are a couple of fillies in there with speed. She’s not super quick, so they’ll probably get the early jump on her. But the pace scenario could play in our favor.”
Guacamole, by Flat Out, was bet to a 2-1 favorite launching her career going 5 1/2 furlongs over a muddy track just 16 days ago and was out-nodded by a nose by Super Simple – only to be elevated to first following a claim of foul by her rider, John Velazquez, and a lengthy deliberation by the stewards.
“We hadn’t really planned on running her [in the Adirondack], but the field came up short, she seemed to bounce out of the race well, and it looks like an opportunity for her to get some black type,” Pletcher said. “And off her pedigree, she’s supposed to want to run farther.”
Lyrical Lady will likely be favored for the red-hot Steve Asmussen barn. Asmussen has already won five 2-year-old races at the meet and lost a sixth as a result of Super Simple’s disqualification. Lyrical Lady led throughout in winning her debut here by 5 3/4 lengths on July 20, earning easily the best Beyer Speed Figure of this group, a 75, after completing 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.24 under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr.
Lyrical Lady could find herself with a little sterner challenge for the early lead in her stakes bow. Mucho Amor and Grandma Gertie were quick enough to lead throughout going 4 1/2 furlongs, while Sue’s Fortune likewise made every call at winning one, defeating New York-bred competition by 8 1/2 lengths at 5 1/2 furlongs last month at Belmont Park.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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