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HRN Original Blog:
A New York State of Racing

2012 Saratoga Highlights

Fort Larned wins 2012 Whitney
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese
Stonestreet Stable unveils three fantastic juvenile fillies.
 
In the first 16 racing days at Saratoga, Stonestreet Stable has unveiled three dynamic two-year fillies: Kauai Katie, Teen Pauline, and Dreaming of Julia. The three fillies are named after nieces of the Stonestreet’s owner Barbara Banke.
 
Kauai Katie went out on opening day and romped to a 12 length win for trainer Todd Pletcher while earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. Katie has been back on the track since her maiden win and she is being aimed at the $200,000 Adirondack (G2) on Sunday.
 
Teen Pauline, who is a Stonestreet home-bred won her maiden special weight on day six. This Tapit filly, who is trained by Steve Asmussen, was assigned a 92 BSF for her victory.
 
On day 16 Dreaming of Julia dominated her six and a half furlong maiden race by easily drawing off to a 10½-length.  Dreaming of Julia is also a homebred and the first foal of Dream Rush, who won five stakes as a three year-old including the grade one Test and Prioress at Saratoga.
 
Right after the race I asked Pletcher which of his fillies was better and he confidently stated, “That once they run longer that she (Dreaming of Julia) will rank above them all.” He later went on to say, “She’s a beautiful filly and seems to have a blend of her dam and sire, speed and the ability to carry it over a distance of ground. She’s been a lovely filly from day one and has done everything right.”
 
As a matter of fact Dreaming of Julia got close to breaking a Saratoga shutout of her great sire, A.P. Indy.  No A.P. Indy offspring has ever won a race at Saratoga while running six furlongs or less. Pletcher felt that she could have won at a distance shorter than today’s 6½-furlongs. “I think if we had wanted to run her going 5½ it would have been OK, but timing-wise this is the one that came up at the right time.”
 
My Miss Aurelia looks great for her return on Wednesday.
 
Last year’s Stonestreet top filly was My Miss Aurelia.  She was undefeated as a two-year having won all four of her starts, beginning with an opening day maiden victory at Saratoga in 2011, and ending with the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly and the Eclipse Award. My Miss Aurelia is entered in an overnight stake on Wednesday, The Mandy’s Gold.
 
I was lucky to see My Miss Aurelia schooling in the paddock at Saratoga on Monday. I don’t think I have ever seen a horse look more fit and solidly built than this filly. I walked over to trainer Steve Asmussen and said, “Wow, she looks great”. To which Asmussen proudly pointed out, “No, she IS great!” Listed as a morning line favorite of 2-5, those odds now seem to be completely realistic.
 
Irad Ortiz, Jr. is the grade one jockey.
 
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has only five wins in the current Saratoga meeting, but two of them are grade one victories. Ortiz won the $300,000 Coaching Coach American Oaks on July 21st with Questing and the $400,000 Vanderbilt on August 5th with Poseidon’s Warrior.
 
Ortiz, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, is a graduate of that country’s school for prospective jockeys. His grandfather, from whom he gets his the name Irad, was a jockey, as is his uncle, Ivan Ortiz.  He began his riding career at Hipódromo Camarero on New Year’s Day, 2011, and rode there until June 19, winning 76 races from 357 mounts. In his two-year career he has won 234 races.
 
Ortiz picked up the mount on Godolophin’s Questing and he won a first level conditioned allowance with the horse at Belmont Park at the end of June. He kept the mount for the CCA Oaks when Questing upset the favorites, Zo Impressive and In Lingerie, to pay $9.80 for the win.
 
His victory in the Vanderbilt was a huge upset, as Poseidon's Warrior paid $74.50 to win. The victory gave Parx based trainer Robert “Butch” Reid, Jr. his first grade one victory.
 
The leading trainer battle features Todd Pletcher v. Chad Brown.
 
After 16 days of racing Pletcher leads the training race. Pletcher got off to a bit of a slow start, but now leads Chad Brown 16-13. Nine of Pletcher’s victories have come in races for two year-olds. Brown has won nine races on the turf and the Curlin Stakes.
 
83 year-old Allen Jerkens wins the grade one Prioress.
 
Allen Jerkens, who is affectionately know as “The Chief”, registered his first win of the meeting when Emma's Encore won her second straight stakes in the Prioress (G1). Her victory was the first grade one win for Jerkens since 2007.
 
“It’s always nice when you go home and you know the next year there’s going to be a jockey statue in front of the clubhouse,” said the 83-year-old Jerkens, referring to the tradition of honoring the Spa’s grade one winners by having their silks painted on the jockey statues surrounding the fountain by the entrance.
 
Emma’s Encore was a mere $2,000 yearling purchase who Jerkens acquired after an unsuccessful two year-old campaign.“All I know is the van man said, ‘You have a horse coming in,’” recalled Jerkens. “She looked OK. We were in no position to turn anybody down, anyway. It’s like I said all my life, with any of them, you never know what’s going to happen.  Some of the ones you expect to be good never run, and others surprise you.”
 
Fort Larned’s Whitney win puts him in the Top 10.
 
Fort Larned moved in to the number 6 spot in this week’s NTRA/America's Best Racing Poll after previously being ranked in the 29th position.  Trainer Ian Wilkes feels that his horse fits, “I always thought he belonged in the division. You question yourself coming off a race like the Stephen Foster; you got beat, you got your head handed to you. But this horse keeps rattling off those 108 Beyer Speed Figures. He stays consistent.”
 
In addition to the new ranking, The Whitney was part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series, so Fort Larned has earned a spot in field for the November Classic at Santa Anita. 

 

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Older Comments about 2012 Saratoga Highlights...

Chad Brown has some good turf horses and some European connections and is a great trainer in my opinion.
It's really quite amazing how good all three juvenile fillies that Stonestreet unveiled at the Spa looked in the last few weeks. It could be Stonestreet against everyone else in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies this year.

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Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

 

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