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Pletcher has Strong Pair for Spinaway

Pletcher 615 X 400 Toga
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who perennially dominates the 2-year-old landscape at Saratoga Race Course, will have two big chances in Sunday's Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway for juvenile fillies when he sends out Angela Renee and Curalina.


 

A full-sister to 2012 Woodward winner To Honor and Serve, Angela Renee is coming off an eye-catching run in the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 10 at the Spa. The Siena Farm-owned filly tracked a fast pace and dueled with eventual winner Cavorting through the lane, missing by 1 ¾ lengths on the line.


 

Based upon the recommendation of Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the filly's regular rider who has the mount again on Sunday, Angela Renee will race with blinkers for the first time.


 

"I thought she ran very well [in the Adirondack], but just caught a buzzsaw with Cavorting," said Pletcher. "Johnny seemed to think she was a little bit shy of horses and intimidated, so we worked her back in some blinkers and liked what we saw. We'll stick with them."


 

Despite several indicators that Angela Renee would improve as distances got farther, the Bernardini filly was able to win her career debut going five furlongs, something that Pletcher did not fully expect. The seven-furlong Spinaway will be the longest start of her career.


 

"You would think based on her pedigree that the distance would suit her well," said Pletcher. "She's been a pleasure to train. She surprised us a little bit that she was able to get ready early and win at five furlongs. She's a nice-sized, scopey filly you would think would handle two turns no problem."


 

Pletcher's other runner, Curalina, enters the Spinaway still a maiden, but showed enough in her debut to warrant a placement in the Grade 1 event. The daughter of Curlin was unveiled on July 27 at the Spa over a muddy strip going six furlongs, and finished a closing second to the highly regarded Tony Dutrow-trained filly High Dollar Woman. For the performance, Curalina earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure, the highest of any Spinaway entrant.


 

"She ran a bang-up race in her maiden and has trained very well since then," said Pletcher. "We felt like she did everything except win first time out, and thought that, with the way she's trained and the number she ran first time out, she fits in a race like this."


 

Curalina was sent off at 6-1 in her debut - odds far greater than most Pletcher first-time starters.


 

"We thought she'd run well; I guess the betting public didn't see it the same way," said Pletcher.


 

Angela Renee drew post 2, while Curalina has post 7 and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.


 

Condo Commando will give trainer Rudy Rodriguez the chance to earn his first Grade 1 win at Saratoga. Not much was expected of the Tiz Wonderful filly in her debut. She was sent to post as a 12-1 outsider in a $75,000 maiden claiming event, but the $72,000 yearling purchase won for fun by 12 lengths.


 

"It would be very, very special [to win a Grade 1 at Saratoga]," said Rodriguez. "These races don't come easy, but we're trying, we're in the race. We'll keep our fingers crossed."


 

Condo Commando ran the 5 ½ furlongs in her debut in a strong 1:03.82 seconds, and earned an 85 Beyer for the effort.


 

"She ran a very good race; she deserves a chance to run in [the Spinaway]," said Rodriguez. "We got a couple works into her; she looks like she's training good. The race comes up a little quick, but that's the way it has to be. She's a lot more comfortable now; she looks like she has it figured out."


 

Condo Commando will break from the rail with Joe Bravo aboard.


 

By the Moon, another promising debut winner at the Spa, will go out for trainer Michelle Nevin, who will be seeking her first career graded stakes victory. By the Moon debuted on July 18 and won impressively by three-quarters of a length over Ring Knocker, while it was another 9 ¾ lengths back to the third-place finisher. The Indian Charlie filly, out of the talented sprinter By the Light, will be ridden again by Jose Ortiz from post 4.


 

Rounding out the field are Lady Zuzu, who finished third in a maiden race at Saratoga in her debut; Darling Sky, a debut winner at Parx by 7 ¼ lengths for trainer Butch Reid; Winter Dawn, who won a maiden race by a head at the Spa in her debut; Ryabinka, seventh in the Cassidy Stakes at Gulfstream Park in her latest outing; and Bonnie K, narrow winner of a maiden race at Penn National in her debut.

 

Source: NYRA

 

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