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Emma's Encore Starts Season in Sunshine Millions F&M Sprint

Emma's Encore edges Judy the Beauty in Prioress
Photo: NYRA, Adam Coglianese

Brenda Mercer and Peter Berglar’s 4-year-old filly Emma’s Encore, a Grade 1 winner and most accomplished of seven fillies and mares entered in the $150,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint Saturday, makes her highly-anticipated season debut as the likely favorite in the six-furlong dash with jockey Junior Alvarado aboard for Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens.

“She worked good on Sunday morning and has trained pretty much on schedule since we got here (November),” said Jerkens. “We couldn’t make the first one ($100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) on Dec. 8), but I think she’s ready now. We’ll see where we go from there.”

A daughter of Congrats, Emma’s Encore worked a sharp five furlongs in 59 4/5 at Gulfstream Sunday as she is poised to make her first start since finishing eighth behind Groupie Doll in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) run on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

Originally purchased for $2,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales, Emma’s Encore came to Jerkens here last winter as a maiden after three starts as a 2-year-old and ran four times at the meet, finishing third and winning twice sprinting before tiring to eighth trying two turns behind Grace Hall in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) before shipping to Belmont.

After a runner-up effort in an allowance at Belmont in mid-May, she hit her best stride and won the Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont in early July and the Prioress Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in early August. She appeared to tail off after that when sixth in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont in September before her trip to Kentucky for the Keeneland race.

While Emma’s Encore comes into Saturday race off the layoff, Farnsworth Stable’s 7-year-old mare Golden Mystery has already run twice at the meet, beginning with a good runner-up try in the Sugar Swirl behind heavy favorite and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G2) runner-up Dust and Diamonds and second to Successful Song in the one-mile Ocala Stakes after setting all the pace.

Jockey Luis Saez rides Golden Mystery for trainer Marty Wolfson as her racing career is winding down. “She and Speak Easy Gal (entered in Distaff) are both seven (years old) and are consigned to a Fasig-Tipton sale in February (11th),” said the trainer. “Farnsworth's program now is to sell the older mares and replace them with younger fillies to race.”

A daughter of Awesome Again, Golden Mystery goes into Saturday’s race with a 36-7-7-4 record for earnings of $360,000.

Completing the field for the Filly & Mare Sprint are E. Paul Robsham Stable’s R Holiday Mood, Michael Dubb’s Isn’t She Grand, Teresa and and David Palmer’s What About Tiffany, Upand Downs Racing’s Becausei’mworthit and James Miller’s Honey Chile.

 

 

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