Ekati’s Phaeton vs. Fashion Alert in Old Hat

December 31, 2014 11:43am
Ekati's Phaeton - 615x400
Photo: Gulfstream Park
When Ekati’s Phaeton goes to the post in Saturday’s $100,000 Old Hat Stakes at Gulfstream, the filly will be starting a fresh season as a 3-year-old, but she’ll be looking to start her sophomore season the same way she started things out at two – with a victory.


Ekati’s Phaeton, a daughter of Tale of Ekati and the Capote mare Seventh Veil, asserted her class from the get-go, when she scored a hard-fought nose victory to break her maiden at Gulfstream at first asking in August. The filly she beat that day, Danessa Deluxe, would go on to not only break her own maiden two starts later, but also win an allowance over the stakes-placed Moment of Delight and contest the $400,000 Delta Princess Stakes (G3).


In Ekati’s Phaeton’s next start, she only got better. She earned an eye-opening 90 Beyer on her way to an equally impressive 10 ¼-length victory. After a disappointing effort in the Our Dear Peggy Stakes on grass, Ekati’s Phaeton returned to dirt and nearly came away with another victory in the House Party Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on November 29. She was caught late that day by the three-time stakes winner and stone-cold closer Leap Year Luck.


While the loss was Ekati’s Phaeton’s first on the main track, she still has not lost over the dirt oval at Gulfstream, a surface that may cater more to the filly’s tactical speed than the deeper going at Gulfstream West. Trainer Bill Kaplan was left feeling encouraged after the House Party, enough to give the newly-turned 3-year-old a chance to take what he believes is a step up to face the quality of stakes horses turned out at Gulfstream’s Championship Meeting.


“I think she’s got a good opportunity to do well,” Kaplan said. “She’s learned everything quickly, and she’s a very classy filly to train. She’s really been no problem whatsoever – a really classy type of horse. She’s a big, strong girl. She’s getting bigger and stronger as she’s going.”


In preparation for the Old Hat, a six-furlong sprint, Ekati’s Phaeton breezed four furlongs in 47.70 seconds on December 28, the fourth fastest of 67 workers that morning.


“She’s in great shape,” Kaplan said. “She had a good work the other day. I think she’ll be very close to the pace or on the pace, and hopefully she’ll run good and be able to handle the jump up in class. I think she’s got a lot of talent.”


Ekati’s Phaeton, who drew the seven-post under Luis Saez, will not have to handle the likes of Leap Year Luck in the Old Hat, but she will have a rematch with Concealedwithakiss, the House Party’s third-place finisher. Concealedwithakiss, trained by Eddie Plesa, Jr., had the lead turning for home in the House Party and did not relinquish it without a fight, hitting the wire just a length behind Ekati’s Phaeton. The loss was the first of Concealedwithakiss’ four-race career; she had previously won the Selima Stakes at Laurel Park on grass.


Paco Lopez will ride the daughter of Political Force for the first time in the Old Hat, and they will break from gate five.


The Todd Pletcher-trained Fashion Alert brings the highest credentials into the Old Hat and should be heavily backed at the window. The daughter of Old Fashioned proved that debuting in stakes company was not much of a challenge, when she won the ungraded Astoria Stakes at Belmont Park in June by 4 ¾ lengths. She followed that right up with a win in the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) in July at Saratoga before suffering her first defeat in Keeneland’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1) on October 3. Fashion Alert will break from the rail in the Old Hat under John Velazquez, who has been aboard for all three of the filly’s races.


Temper Mint Patty (post six) and R Sassy Lass (post three) are two other stakes winners represented in the Old Hat field. Temper Mint Patty, trained by Dale Romans, took the Joseph A. Gimma Stakes at Belmont Park on November 21 before running second in the Maid of the Mist Stakes at the same track. She enters the Old Hat off a fifth-place finish in the Delta Princess. R Sassy Lass, meanwhile, comes in to the Old Hat off a win in the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs after breaking her maiden against maiden claimers at Gulfstream on November 27.


Rounding out the Old Hat field are: Little Miss Julia, who broke her maiden in wire-to-wire fashion at Gulfstream on December 17; Slava, 12th in the Alcibiades but has never finished off the board at Gulfstream; and Jamie’s Dancer, who started 15 times in her 2-year-old season, breaking her maiden by five lengths at Gulfstream in August. They will break from posts four, two, and eight, respectively.


Source: Gulfstream Park


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