Stopchargingmaria Earns Grade One Status

July 20, 2014 02:48pm
stopchargingmaria cca oaks 615 X 400
Photo: NYRA / Adam Mooshian
Stopchargingmaria made a definititve move coming around the clubhouse turn to take the lead in the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga Race Track. She drew off down the stretch to easily win her first grade one stake in a final time of 1:49.80.

Stopchargingmaria, sent off as the 6-5 favorite, was the only graded stakes winner in the field. The Todd Pletcher trainee had won three graded stakes in her career, most recently in her last start at the Black Eyed Susan on Preakness Day at Pimlico.

Going into the race Pletcher was expecting the Repole Stable runner to show her best, “I told Mike [owner Repole] that this filly never trained better than she has in the last month. She seems to really like Saratoga. She’s been training much more powerfully than she did this winter. So, we expected a big effort from her.”

This marks the sixth time that Pletcher has won the CCA Oaks since 2001. His past winners include Princess of Sylmar last year, Devil May Care in 2010, and Ashado in 2004. Jockey Javier Castellano registered his third win in Oaks, including last year.

Pletcher joked about winning this sixth CCA Oaks, “I must be getting old.”

The race unfolded with Miss Besilu, the $2,600,000 yearling purchase, setting a steady early pace with Taketheodds. They cut early fractions of :24.03, :48.08, and 1:12.11. Stopchargingmaria was sitting in the three-path in third place at this time. From there the Tale of the Cat filly made her move and took over. “We wanted to come out and get some position and hopefully we could track the speed from the outside”, Pletcher said. “She was able to put Javier in a spot to run at it.”

The CCA Oaks, which was changed to a distance of nine furlongs when it moved to Saratoga in 2010, was missing the division superstar. With Untapable skipping the CCA Oaks to go to Monmouth Park to face the boys in next Sunday’s Haskell Invitational, a field of six assembled to run for the $300,000 purse.

The CCA Oaks used to be the third leg of the New York Triple Tiara or Triple Crown for three year-old fillies. The Tiara consisted of the Acorn, the Mother Goose and the CCA Oaks. Over the years the schedule, distances, and even the location has changed and thus the Triple Tiara has lost its importance. This year Sweet Reason won the Acorn on Belmont Stakes day and Untapable romped in the Mother Goose.

Pletcher talked about the importance of this win, “The huge thing was to win a grade one. It was huge for this filly to get a grade one on her resume. I thought she ran well enough to certainly earn a spot in the Alabama [Saturday, Aug. 18, at Saratoga].” 


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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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