Stuart Janney III's Fair Point and Jack Swain III's Miss Ella will battle again in the fifth running of the $100,000 Smart N Fancy at 5 ½ furlongs on the Mellon turf course Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
The pair have finished 1-2 in three of their four meetings, including last time out in the Caress, when Miss Ella outkicked Fair Point to win by a length on July 24 at the Spa.
Last year, Fair Point got the nod in their first encounter to win the 2016 Smart N Fancy by a head over Miss Ella, who turned the tables with a neck victory in the Grade 3 Franklin County at Keeneland.
"They are evenly matched," said trainer Graham Motion. "It's perhaps a unique rivalry."
Motion said that Miss Ella returned from her Caress victory in good shape, and has continued to train well at Motion's Fair Hill training base in Maryland.
"She breezed at Fair Hill last weekend and she shipped up to Saratoga [Wednesday], but I feel like she's done well since she ran up there," Motion said. "I'm running her up there because she particularly seems to like Saratoga. I'm very happy with how she's doing and I'm glad we get another chance to run up there. I thought the last race was very impressive."
Joel Rosario, who boasts a 4-3-1 record in eight starts aboard the 5-year-old Exchange Rate mare, has the return call. The pair will break from post 4.
Meanwhile, Fair Point turned in her second work since the Caress on Monday with jockey Jose Ortiz as the defending Smart N Fancy champion for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
"She's doing really well," said McGaughey. "I was a little disappointed in the way she ran her last race, not that she didn't win, but she has really seemed to come out of it well, and she had a good work over there [on Oklahoma turf course] with Jose the other day. I think we'll be in pretty good shape."
"It's a little bit interesting though she's gotten a little bit over it." he added. "To me, she acts like she might want to run a little bit further now. I'm going to get him [Ortiz] to ride her that way and see what happens. But she's ready to go over there."
The 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike will be ridden by Ortiz from post 8.
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will be aboard Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Ava's Kitten and break from post 10 for trainer Chad Brown in her first time in stakes company since her third-place run in the Christiecat at Belmont Park in September 2016.
"We are looking to get her back on track, she's been a bit inconsistent. I think she's finally coming back into form," said Brown. "She has run well at Saratoga two years in a row now and she has won a race here sprinting on the turf so she seems to love the course. It seems to be a logical thing to do, getting her back in stakes competition."
Third in the Caress last time out, Susan Cooney's Carolina Shag will break from post 12 with Sheldon Russell in the irons.
The Chilean-bred Paquita Coqueta, who led early in the Caress before fading to fifth, will run in her second U.S. stakes with Luis Saez aboard and breaking from post 1 for owner Luis Sullivan and trainer Chad Summers.
Another Motion entry, Bill Crager and Paul Hondros' Irish-bred filly Miss Katie Mae, will be making her Saratoga stakes debut following a game runner-up effort in an optional-claiming race on July 23. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 7.
Rounding out the field is Chanteline, Fire Key, Pretty Perfection, Rumble Doll, Ultimate Holiday, and Wheatfield. Royal Inheritance is entered for main track only.
Source: NYRA Communications