Photo Call Makes Second Start for Pletcher in Orchid

Photo Call Makes Second Start for Pletcher in Orchid
Photo: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire

The $200,000 Orchid Stakes (G3) has attracted a group of nine fillies and mares for its 56th renewal on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. Among the cast in the 11-furlong affair is Photo Call, a 5-year-old daughter of leading sire Galileo and stakes winner Theann who will be making her second start for trainer Todd Pletcher.
 
After beginning her career in her native Ireland, Photo Call joined Graham Motion’s string on these shores. She finished a close third in the 12-furlong La Prevoyante Stakes (G3) over the Gulfstream grass, then went straight to the front in last year’s running of the Orchid, but faded in the lane and wound up sixth. Four starts later, the regally bred mare notched her first stakes victory in the nine-furlong Violet Stakes (G3) at Monmouth, and followed that with a career-best effort in winning the $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) going a mile and a quarter at Santa Anita.
 
Photo Call led at the stretch call in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland on October 31, but was caught late and wound up fifth in that 9 1/2-furlong event. 
 
She was offered at auction three days later at Keeneland and sold for $3 million to Crupi’s New Castle Farm on behalf of Teresa Viola. Viola, who also co-owned the talented Liam’s Map, turned Photo Call over to Pletcher. In her first start for her new connections, Photo Call contested the $150,000 Endeavour Stakes (G3) over 8 1/2 furlongs at Tampa Bay Downs and wound up fourth behind champion turf mare Tepin. She will get another chance to display her stamina going a bit further on Saturday in the Orchid.
 
"I thought she had a productive comeback at Tampa and we’ve kind of kicked around the idea of what the right distance was to try her back,” Pletcher said. “She seemed like a filly that kind of carries her pace with her, and we felt like the stretch out to a mile and three-eighths might suit her well. We kind of zeroed in on this as the next stepping-stone for her.”
 
Drawn in post four, Photo Call will be ridden by jockey Javier Castellano.
 
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott will field two strong contenders in the Orchid when he saddles Songoficeandfire and Suffused. Diane Snowden’s Songoficeandfire concluded her 3-year-old season with a fourth in the Long Island Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct, but was sidelined for over a year after that effort. Now five, the daughter of Dynaformer and Group 1 winner Catchascatchcan resurfaced on February 3 at Gulfstream with a solid runner-up effort in a 9 1/2-furlong allowance. Songoficeandfire will have jockey Junior Alvarado in the irons when she breaks from post seven in the Orchid.
 
Mott’s other trainee is Suffused, a 4-year-old filly who will be making her first appearance in the U.S. for owner-breeder Juddmonte Farms. Previously trained by Roger Charlton in Britain, Suffused won three of her eight starts, and concluded her stint there with a pair of fourth-place finishes in stakes races.
 
Trainer Christophe Clement has taken home the Orchid trophy no fewer than seven times, including 12 months ago when he won the marathon with Beauty Parlor. He will have two chances to win an eighth edition with Crisolles and Maximova. A French-bred mare owned by China Horse Club, Crisolles proved a front-running winner of a Belmont allowance over a mile and three-eighths in October, but has not faced the starter since finishing 10th in the Long Island Handicap (G3) on November 7. The 5-year-old mare will break from the inside post in the Orchid and will have the services of top turf rider Julien Leparoux. 
 
Clement will also be represented by Maximova, a 6-year-old homebred owned by Gallagher’s Stud. The daughter of Danehill Dancer outran her 35-1 odds when second in Gulfstream’s La Prevoyante Handicap (G3) on December 26, and most recently encountered traffic when a close fourth in the 12-furlong Savannah Jane Stakes over this course on February 11. Jockey Joe Bravo has the return call aboard Maximova, who drew the six hole in the Orchid.
 

The Orchid field will be completed by Achnaha, Quiet Kitten, My Sweet Girl and Pretty and Sweet.

Source: Gulfstream Park

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