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Sara Louise Seeks Top Flight Repeat

The third start of 2010 could be the charm for Sara Louise, who on Friday will attempt to win the Grade 2, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack for the second consecutive year.

 

After concluding her 2009 campaign with a half-length victory in the Top Flight, Sara Louise was fourth in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park on September 25 in her belated 4-year-old debut and sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on November 5.

 

“She walked out of the gate in the Breeders’ Cup, and it certainly didn’t help how she spotted those fillies five lengths,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to Godolphin Racing’s trainer, Saeed bin Suroor. “She made a good mid-race move and, not surprisingly, got pretty tired. All in all it was pretty disappointing, but it was a 13-horse field and she broke five lengths behind everybody. We’re just going to draw a line through it. This a smaller field, so by default she should get a better trip.”

 

Sara Louise, the 119-pound co-highweight in the field of seven, drew post position 2 for Friday’s one-mile test for fillies and mares. Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who rode Sara Louise in the 2009 Top Flight and in this year’s Gallant Bloom, is back aboard the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

 

Qualia, forced to bypass the Filly and Mare Sprint after failing to draw into the field, seeks her first graded stakes victory, having missed by a head when second in the Grade 3 Bed o’Roses Handicap at Belmont on July 5. The 4-year-old was the 3-1 second-choice in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga Race Course on August 25, but reported home last after her saddle slipped, and finished two lengths behind the winner when fourth in the Gallant Bloom.

 

“Hopefully, she’ll run well [in the Top Flight],” said Bobby Ribaudo, who trains Qualia for Marc Keller. “You worry a bit about her being past [her] peak as she’s been ready for the last three weeks.”

 

Qualia, the 3-1 morning-line second selection, will leave from post position 5 under 115 pounds, including jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

 

Fillies and mares taking on Sara Louise and Qualia include Our Khrysty, Funny Moon, and Way With Words, the respective top three finishers in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Handicap at Belmont on October 30.

 

Our Khrysty, trained by Todd Beattie for owner Renpher Stable, carries a two-race winning streak into the Top Flight, having posted a 4 ½-length success in the Nellie Bly at Belmont on September 26 prior to her Turnback the Alarm victory. Ramon Dominguez will once again ride Our Khrysty, who was installed at 4-1 on the morning line, drew post position 4, and was assigned 117 pounds.

 

Mrs. C. Wilson McNeeley’s Funny Moon, second by a nose in the Turnback the Alarm, seeks her third graded stakes triumph, having captured the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 2009 and the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap this May. The chestnut was third in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap in June and the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, and returned from a brief layoff to finish fifth over Keeneland’s artificial surface in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland on October 10.

 

“We gave her a break this summer, just to give her a break,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “She got beat but ran a nice race in the Turnback the Alarm, and she’s had two breezes since, working well both times.”

 

Like Our Khrysty, Funny Moon was given a 4-1 chance on the morning line. She will leave from the outside post under Alan Garcia and will tote 119 pounds.

 

Completing the field are Spacy Tracy, who exits a stakes win at Delaware Park, and R Betty Graybull, heroine of the Anniron for New York-breds two starts back.

 

The field for the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap:

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Way With Words (NJ)

J Lezcano

114

M E Eppler

12-1

2

Sara Louise (KY)

E S Prado

119

S bin Suroor

5-2

3

Spacy Tracy (KY)

J Rose

115

A W Dutrow

8-1

4

Our Khrysty (KY)

R A Dominguez

117

T M Beattie

4-1

5

Qualia (KY)

J R Velazquez

115

R Ribaudo

3-1

6

R Betty Graybull (NY)

C H Marquez, Jr.

113

L A White

15-1

7

Funny Moon (KY)

A Garcia

119

C Clement

4-1

 

 

 

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