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Breeders' Cup 2017

Georgie's Angel Goes to Bat in Spinaway

Georgie's Angel (no. 9), ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, wins the 93rd running of the grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes for two year old fillies on July 22, 2011 at Saratoga Race Track in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)
Georgie’s Angel is a racehorse a Yankee fan couldn’t help but love, even if she is largely owned by a diehard member of Red Sox Nation.


On Sunday, Georgie’s Angel will try to please all her backers when she heads to the post as the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the 120th running of the Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.

Undefeated in two starts, including the Grade 3 Schuylerville on opening day of the meet, Georgie’s Angel was purchased by Red Sox fan Ronnie Sheffer in partnership with several others, including trainer Todd Pletcher’s publicist, Kelly Summers Wietsma, who loves the Yanks.


The story Wietsma tells about the horse makes success sound almost preordained.


“Ronnie Sheffer, the majority partner, is my attorney,” Wietsma said. “Last July, he said he was looking at a few fillies and asked Todd if he would look at their papers and see what he thought of them. The day [Ronnie] faxed me the papers is the day [Yankees owner] George Steinbrenner died. I noticed one of them was by Bellamy Road, who was George’s favorite colt, so we sent the papers [on the Bellamy Road filly] to Todd.


“Todd said it was difficult without having seen her but she looked OK on paper. I wanted to name her in honor of George. The names I wanted were taken, so Ronnie submitted Georgie’s Angel because his wife is an ordained minister. Her first race, a maiden special at Churchill on the 4th of July, I didn’t even realize when she crossed the finish line that it was George Steinbrenner’s birthday.”


Georgie’s Angel followed the maiden win with a 1 ½-length score in the Schuylerville, rating off a fast pace and charging home strongly under jockey John Velazquez. Now she will attempt to stretch out from six to seven furlongs in the Spinaway.


“Based on her pedigree and the way she’s been training, we don’t believe seven furlongs will be an issue,” Pletcher said. “She ran a very professional race. We were concerned coming back off short rest at Churchill. Now, we’ve got good spacing.”


Trainer Tony Dutrow had planned for a while to enter Michael Dubb and Cash Is King Stable’s Schuylerville runner-up True Feelings in the Spinaway; then, after some long deliberation, he decided to add maiden winner Grace Hall into the mix and run them as a coupled entry.


True Feelings won her debut by 3 ¾ lengths on June 27 at Delaware Park and then shipped up a month later for the Schuylerville, a race in which she closed fast into hard fractions to be beaten 1 ½ lengths by Georgie’s Angel.


“I went through the same thing in the Schuylerville that I am here with Grace Hall,” Dutrow said. “We feel very good about the way she is going into the Spinaway. The added distance should be to her liking.”


About Grace Hall, who won her lone start at Delaware, Dutrow said, “I am absolutely guessing. When she broke her maiden at Delaware Park, she ran around the racetrack and won. She learned very little, and that’s not her fault. She has extremely limited experience to go into a Grade 1. These decisions are what we are faced with all the time.”


The entry is 7-2 on the morning line.


Trainer John Terranova enters Born Bullish off a close-up fourth-place finish in the ungraded Colleen Stakes on August 7 at Monmouth Park. The gray daughter of Flashy Bull won her debut by nine lengths in June at Belmont Park and had a rough trip in the race at the Jersey Shore.


“She looked impressive first out, but the second start she didn’t handle the scene at Monmouth too well,” Terranova said. “She was just stressed out, but she recovered fine and had a good workout here the other day.


“When she gets the distances like seven-eighths and a mile, it will be good for her. She’s tactical, and she’ll improve with a distance of ground.”


Eddie Castro will ride, and the filly is 12-1.


Terranova also has been in charge of Lady Pecan for trainer Bob Baffert, who recently returned to California to oversee his string at Del Mar. Lady Pecan was purchased privately by the James Perron Racing Stable after winning her second start at Woodbine on the artificial surface by 8 ¼ lengths.


By Concerto out of a Kris S. mare, Terranova said Lady Pecan, 8-1, also is a filly who should appreciate a stretch-out in distance.


Another entrant coming off a race at Woodbine is undefeated Judy the Beauty, owned and trained by Wesley Ward. The daughter of Ghostzapper won her debut at 4 ½ furlongs at Keeneland in April, traveled to France to win an allowance by a neck at Chantilly in May and returned in July for a 5 ½-furlong score at Woodbine.


The Spinaway will be her first race on dirt.


The field will be completed by Baffle Me, third in the Colleen for trainer Mark Hennig; And Why Not, a sharp 5 ½-length maiden winner at the Spa for trainer Michael Matz; and Vukovar, trainer by Eric Guillot, last of six in the Schuylerville.


The field for Grade 1, $250,000 Spinaway:

Program No.









True Feelings (KY)

J Rose


A W Dutrow




Grace Hall (KY)

R A Dominguez


A W Dutrow




And Why Not (KY)

J R Leparoux


M R Matz




Georgie's Angel (KY)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher




Vukovar (KY)

C S Nakatani


E J Guillot




Lady Pecan (FL)

S Bridgmohan


B Baffert




Born Bullish (KY)

E Castro


J P Terranova, II




Judy the Beauty (ON)

J Sanchez


W A Ward




Baffle Me (KY)

J Lezcano


M A Hennig





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