placed against older fillies and mares, 3-year-old Artemis Agrotera
proved she ranks among the elite female sprinters in the country
Saturday, toying with a talented field and running away to win the Grade
1, $500,000 Ballerina by 6 ½ lengths at Saratoga Race Course.
by Mike Hushion, the Chester and Mary Broman homebred daughter of Roman
Ruler came away fast from her inside post, moved to stalk outside of
pace-setter La Verdad on the backside and by the five-sixteenths pole
was in full flight.
stormed past the tiring front-runner and widened her lead until jockey
Rajiv Maragh eased up on her. They crossed the finish line in 1:21.89
for seven furlongs.
Miss Aurelia, the tepid 3-1 favorite, rallied from fifth for second, 1 ¼
lengths in front of Willet. Better Lucky, La Verdad, Kipling's Joy,
Geeky Gorgeous and Hot Stones followed.
victory came in a "Win and You're In" race for the Breeders' Cup Filly
& Mare Sprint, and the soft-spoken Hushion said a trip to Santa
Anita Park likely was in the plans.
heard that Mr. Broman told the last interviewer we were going," Hushion
said. "It sounds good to me. To win a Grade 1 at Saratoga - it doesn't
get any better than that."
victory vindicated Hushion's belief that he had an exceptional filly in
his barn, a belief tested when Artemis Agrotera finished eighth in the
Grade 1 TVG Acorn in June at Belmont Park, her first race since the
Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies seven months before.
said he did little more than ease up on Artemis Agrotera's training
after the Acorn and before entering her against New York-breds in an
optional claimer July 23 at seven furlongs to build her confidence.
The filly responded by rolling to a 10 ¼-length victory, and Hushion decided that was good enough for a shot in the Ballerina.
just lightened up on her a little," said Hushion, who also won the
Grade 1 Frizette with Artemis Agrotera last fall at Belmont Park. "She's
a filly that apparently does better off of light training than
five-eighths [of a mile] in a minute every six days.
know, this filly has always acted like a special filly every day I've
had her, so I was more confused by the couple of times she didn't run
well and never surprised when she shows up big."
Ballerina shaped up to be a battle between veteran stars My Miss
Aurelia, the 2011 Champion Two-Year-Old Filly, and multiple Grade 1
winner Better Lucky versus a host of New York-bred speedsters, including
of those New York breds, La Verdad, gunned to the lead and cut out
opening fractions of 23.14 seconds for the quarter-mile and 45.78 for
the half, while Artemis Agrotera tracked comfortably, with no other
horse within 2 ½ lengths.
Even as My Miss Aurelia summoned a really, in the end, it was no contest.
was pretty dominant today and was much the best," Maragh said. "I was
gearing down inside the sixteenth pole because she had the race wrapped
up and was powering away. I don't think I squeezed the lemon dry; I
think she has more to give."
winner paid $10.60 for a $2 win bet as the 4-1 third choice. She won
for the fourth time in six starts and the $300,000 purse pushed her
lifetime earnings to $763,800.
Source: NYRA (John Scheinman)