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
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.