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Pletcher Has Spinaway Surrounded

Todd Pletcher will be well represented in the Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course, sending out four viable candidates in the seven-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies.

 

Heading the group is Valiant Passion, who was acquired privately by Team Valor after debuting in dominant fashion at Saratoga on August 12 while racing for trainer Ralph Nicks. In that outing, the juvenile steadied multiple times on the far turn, took command at the top of the stretch, and powered clear in the lane, despite racing greenly.

 

“She has done well since arriving in our barn, and I hope I can get her to run as well as Ralph was able to,” said Pletcher.

 

Julien Leparoux retains the mount aboard Valiant Passion, who drew post position 5 as the 3-1 morning-line favorite.

 

Two of Pletcher’s entrants, Stopspendingmaria and Sky Hosoya, are owned by Repole Stable and are coupled in the wagering as the 7-2 second choice.

 

Stopspendingmaria, a seven-length maiden winner at Belmont Park on July 1 in her second start, was second in the Grade 3 Schuylerville after dueling for the early lead and being tagged in the final sixteenth of a mile.

 

“With Stopspendingmaria, in her last race [Grade 3 Schuylerville] she had to gun from the rail over a sloppy track; we’ll look to let her settle into a rhythm,” said Pletcher.

 

John Velazquez will ride Stopspendingmaria from post 2.

 

Pletcher believes Sky Hosoya, fifth in a Belmont maiden special weight on June 17 and a 9 ¾-length winner of a $50,000 maiden claimer at Saratoga on July 29, will set the pace.

 

“She ran well enough last time for us to take a shot,” said Pletcher of Sky Hosoya, who will break from post 4 with Javier Castellano in the irons. “She was a filly who cost $50,000 as a yearling, so we were willing to run her for that claiming price, but she had trained better than her first race indicated.”

 

E. Paul Robsham’s R Heat Lightning, a five-length winner at Delaware Park on July 5 and second in the Colleen at Monmouth on August 7, completes Pletcher’s fearsome foursome.

 

“We were impressed by her first race, and she closed strongly at Monmouth, so we think she’ll show continued improvement with more distance,” said Pletcher.

 

R Heat Lightning, who was tabbed at 4-1 and drew post position 8, will have the services of Garrett Gomez.

 

The lone graded-stakes winner in the field is Le Mi Geaux, who closed to take the Schuylerville on Opening Day.

 

“We know she likes the track, and she ran like she’ll like the extra distance,” said Rick Dutrow, Jr., who trains the filly for Lansdon B. Robbins, III. “The pace won’t really matter as she blew them out gate-to-wire in her maiden win and came from nearly last in the Schuylerville.”

 

Dutrow believes his filly will have to improve off her Schuylerville victory in order to win the Spinaway.

 

“I think the talent of the other horses will be the key, and I hope she’ll be able to step up against them,” said Dutrow.

 

Alienation, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, has remained at Saratoga since shipping in from Southern California to contest the Grade 2 Adirondack, in which she finished five lengths behind Position Limit in second. Channing Hill has picked up the mount aboard Alienation, who was installed at 4-1 and drew post position 3.

 

Rounding out the field are Abide, a 3 ½-length debut winner at Saratoga on August 1, and Coax Liberty, third in the Adirondack.

 

The field for the Grade 1 Spinaway:

Program No.

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

2

Stopspendingmaria (FL)

J R Velazquez

119

T A Pletcher

7-2

1a

4

Sky Hosoya (KY)

J Castellano

119

T A Pletcher

7-2

2

1

Abide (KY)

S Bridgmohan

119

S M Asmussen

5-1

3

3

Alienation (KY)

C Hill

119

B Baffert

4-1

4

5

Valiant Passion (KY)

J R Leparoux

119

T A Pletcher

3-1

5

6

Le Mi Geaux (KY)

F Lenclud

119

R E Dutrow, Jr.

6-1

6

7

Coax Liberty (KY)

J C Caraballo

119

J L Lawrence, II

15-1

7

8

R Heat Lightning (FL)

G K Gomez

119

T A Pletcher

4-1



 

 

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