Paulassilverlining, By the Moon clash again in Ballerina
August 23, 2017 12:07pm
Paulassilverlining beats Finley'sluckycharm in 2017 Honorable Miss
Photo: Chelsea Durand/NYRA

Paulassilverlining tops a septet of sprint fillies entered in Saturday's Grade 1 $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina at Saratoga. The seven-furlong main track event annually attracts some of the nation's top fillies and mares - including victorious year-end champions Davona Dale, Maryfield, Lady's Secret and Queena -  and this year's Ballerina dances to the same beat.

Trained by Chad Brown and owned by the powerful Juddmonte Farms operation, Paulassilverlining has proven to be a force in the division in 2017. Purchased privately in March as a future mate for Juddmonte's world champion Arrogate, the daughter of Ghostzapper and half-sister to Grade 1 winner Dads Caps has proven her mettle with a trio of neck victories from as many starts, including a pair of Grade 1s at this distance - the April 8 Madison at Keeneland and May 6 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs. 

After a brief freshening, the bay 5-year-old mare returned to defeat top sprint filly Finley'sluckycharm last out in Saratoga's Grade 2 Honorable Miss on July 26. Leading local rider Jose Ortiz, 8-for-12 when pairing with the seven-time graded stakes winner, returns to the saddle from post three.

"It's exciting to be following her along because every one of her races has been a dog fight and she comes out on top," said Garrett O'Rourke, manager of Juddmonte's North American operations. "She hasn't been the property of Juddmonte for long, but she's quickly become near and dear to our hearts.

"We are obviously hoping she runs well," O'Rourke continued. "We have to give weight away and she's run very close to some of these fillies in the past, plus she's not a very big filly, but she keeps her weight and keeps running her race. She's just a very cool filly to be around with a lot of talent. What brought me back to her before purchasing her was was just an admiration of her form line, more than anything. She's just very fast and went all the way through her 2- and 3-year old years without missing a beat and never spits the bit. She's never tailed off at any point, has been sound and you can't get any more honest than her."

The most formidable threat to the favorite may come from her old barn. Trainer Michelle Nevin's By the Moon enters the Ballerina on the strength of a solid third to Paulassilverlining in the Honorable Miss, losing by three-quarters of a length at the wire after a steady, gaining drive. The Jay Em Ess Stable-owned, Samantha Siegel homebred daughter of Indian Charlie has had a productive season, winning half her four starts - all in graded stakes company - and receives five pounds from her rival under the Ballerina's allowance conditions. A Grade 1 winner at two and four-time graded stakes winner overall, the 5-year-old dark bay mare reunites for the fourth consecutive race with Rajiv Maragh. The pair drew post four.

"I feel like she loves Saratoga and has been training really well here," Nevin said. "She's feeling well, is bright and happy and I think she's coming in great shape. The seven furlongs will be better for her and is a good trip for the way she runs. In [the Honorable Miss], she ran huge. She's not the quick six-furlong type, so her effort was great considering that. We feel good going into [the Ballerina]."

More than simply a Pas de Deux, this year's Ballerina also features Carina Mia, who looks to improve upon a third-place finish last year as the even-money favorite. Previously trained by Bill Mott, the daughter of Malibu Moon has since been transferred to the Brown barn by owner Three Chimneys Farm and exits a successful seasonal debut in the restricted Shine Again over this course and distance on August 2. The three-time graded stakes winner and 2016 Grade 1 Acorn conqueror breaks from post five under freshly minted Hall of Fame inductee Javier Castellano.

Chester and Mary Broman's Highway Star will try to extend her perfect 3-for-3 record at the seven-furlong distance when the Rodrigo Ubillo trainee breaks from post seven under Angel Arroyo. The New York-bred daughter of Girolamo cuts back in distance after a third last out in Belmont's 1 1/16-mile Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 10 and returns to the distance over which she landed Aqueduct's Grade 3 Distaff Handicap in April.

Owner and trainer Happy Alter's swift Curlin's Approval brings her Florida heat to Upstate New York on the heels of a stellar 4 1/2-length victory in Gulfstream Park's Grade 2 Princess Rooney on July 1 over this distance. A presser with speed to burn, the dark bay 4-year-old daughter of Curlin has six victories from 11 starts, including three stakes wins at this distance. Luis Saez, aboard for all three of her graded stakes tallies, rides from post two.

The field is completed by Fred Allor's Princess Rooney runner-up Distinta, who makes her first start for trainer Todd Pletcher and breaks from post six under John Velazquez, and Forum Racing's Tom Proctor-trained Birdatthewire, who breaks from the rail under Manuel Franco and has not won since taking the Grade 1 La Brea at Santa Anita in 2015.

Source: NYRA Communications


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