Ballston Spa Stakes at Saratoga

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: August 23, 2012 -- 6:05 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Ballston Spa Stakes comes our way this Saturday, August 25 from Saratoga as part of the much anticipated Travers Day. Fillies and mares three years old and upward will be after their share of the $250,000 purse when they go one and one sixteenth miles on Saratoga's turf track.

A quality group of eight fillies and mares have been entered for the Ballston Spa with one Main Track Only contestant. It goes as race nine on Saratoga's jam-packed Saturday card with a post time of 4:05 PM. Let's take a glance into the recent performances of these nine and what brought them to this Grade 2 race.

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2012 Ballston Spa Stakes Race Favorites

Summer Soiree - will be making her first start of 2012 after a nearly nine month layoff. Last time out was a second in the Grade 1 Matriarch back in November at Hollywood Park to follow a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October. Summer Soiree has winning in her blood though as demonstrated by four wins in five races from January to August of last year including the Grade 1 Saratoga Oaks and a pair of Grade 3 wins. It has been a while since she has raced but Summer Soiree's inclusion in the Ballston Spa is certainly noteworthy.

Zagora - Zagora is an interesting prospect in this event. She has won three of her last five races - all Grade 3 races including the Endeavor, the Hillsborough and the Gallorette and finished third in the Grade 1 Diana ahead of Hunger Island last time out here on July 28. Trainer Chad Brown has this filly in the best form of her career indeed. In 19 career starts, Zagora has placed in 15 with eight wins, four seconds and three third place finishes.

Tapitsfly - was a serious up-and-comer as a two year old capping off a terrific season with a win at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita but has struggled since then. Last year Tapitsfly won only one of nine races - an Allowance at Gulfstream. 2012 has been a tad better - a third at the Marshua`s River stakes was followed by an impressive yet surprising score in the Grade 3 Honey Fox, a third at the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley and a second at the Grade 1 Churchill Distaff to Hunger island. A win in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes in June saw Tapitsfly return to prominence although a fourth last time out in the Grade 1 Diana is a bit concerning.

Ballston Spa Stakes 2012 | Remaining Field Entries

Hungry Island - won the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Mile in May and followed that up with a decent third in the Just a Game Stakes a month after that. Last time out big expectations were too much and she finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes here. That said Hunger Island has been competitive in all of her career starts and there is no reason to think differently about Saturday.

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Ruthenia - had won two straight races before the Eatontown where she finished fourth. The wins included the Grade 3 Violet Stakes on May 28 and before that was an Allowance Optional Claiming win in April at Gulfstream. Ruthenia has placed in eight of 11 career starts with four wins and is in decent form ahead of the Ballston Spa.

Heavenly Landing - started out 2012 with a bang - a win in the Grade 3 Marshua's River Stakes at Gulfstream on January 7 and then mixed results. She looked good in finishing second in the Grade 3 Mint Julep at Churchill Downs on June 2 and at the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap last time out on June 30 but before that was a couple of below average results - sixth in the Distaff Mile Turf Stakes on May 5 and fourth in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland on April 14. Heavenly Landing has shown flashes and has been close in her last two outings.

Thundering Emelia - won a Grade 3 event in Europe in 2009 before moving to North America where she has had varied results. She recorded an impressive win in the John W. Rooney Memorial Stakes at Delaware June 2 but has struggled since to a ninth in the Grade 3 All Along Stakes at Colonial Downs and a fourth last time out in the Red Carpet Stakes on July 27.

Mykindofladyfriend - has a staggering 15 starts already in 2012 with just three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. Saturday marks Maykindofladyfriend's stakes debut after a win last time out in a Claiming at Delaware Park. The Ballston Spa is a huge step up in competition.

Acting Happy - main track only entry that was good in 2010 but has focused on smaller races since. Acting Happy is not likely to contend.


2012 Ballston Spa Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 9 on Saratoga's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:05 PM.

Post Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Heavenly Landing J. Rosario E. Kenneally
8-1
2 Zagora (FR) R. Dominguez C. Brown
5-2
3 Thundering Emilia A. Clemente M. Matz
20-1
4 Hungry Island J. Velazquez C. McGaughey III
3-1
5 Summer Soiree J. Leparoux H. Motion
9-2
6 Tapitsfly J. Castellano D. Romans
7-2
7 Ruthenia J. Lezcano C. Clement
12-1
8 Mykindofladyfriend R. Napravnik D. Seyler
30-1
9 Acting Happy (MTO) . R. Dutrow, Jr.
2-1

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