Ballston Spa Stakes 2013 Contenders at Saratoga Race Course

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 2 Ketel One Ballston Spa Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, August 24 from a very busy Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. A purse of $250,000 will be on the line for fillies and mares three years old and upward willing to go 1 1/16 miles on Saratoga's turf track.

A field of eight older females plus one Main Track Only entry will line up in the Ballston Spa - race 10 on Saratoga's impressive Saturday schedule. Post time is 4:38 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all nine combatants for this Grade 2 stakes.

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2013 Ballston Spa Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Centre Court - has five graded stakes wins but most recently finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes behind Laughing on this track July 27 after a fourth in the Just a Game Stakes behind Stephanie's Kitten and Hungry Island after getting caught in traffic June 8. Before that was a three race win streak - the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley April 13, the Grade 2 Honey Fox at Gulfstream March 16 and the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs four months earlier. She has six wins and four seconds in 13 career starts and many of the wins have come against her Ballston Spa rivals. She has had two-three race win streaks in her career and hopes to start another Saturday after two rather unflattering results. She is the most decorated of the entries and will be looking for a strong bounce back Saturday.

Laughing - had two straight wins in Europe before shipping to North America where she was seventh in her debut here in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in October 2011. 2012 was better for Laughing - two wins and a second place finish in six starts - the best result being a win in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park in July. Laughing has been terrific in 2013 - two starts and two wins. Last time out was in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes over Center Court and before that was in the Grade 3 Eatontown at Monmouth Park June 29. Laughing breaks from the rail with Alan Goldberg in the saddle.

Ballston Spa Stakes 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Hungry Island - Shug McGaughey trainee is the defending runner-up in this race that won the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Mile in May 2012 and followed that up with a decent third in the 2012 Just a Game Stakes a month after that. She was a disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes last July but has placed in all five starts since including a second in the 2012 Ballston Spa, a third in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes and a win in an Allowance at Keeneland April 7. Last time out was third in the Just a Game Stakes to follow a respectable second in the Grade 2 Churchill Distaff Turf Mile May 4. Hungry Island has placed in nine of her last 10 starts and has been very competitive each and every time out the last 18 months. Javier Castellano gets the mount from post 5.

Miz Ida - Steve Margolis trained filly had a nice three race win streak going last summer/fall including the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes at Keeneland but ended 2012 with a fifth in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere in November. She has three starts in 2013 with a win and two second place finishes. Last time out was an OK second in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial to Somali Lemonade at Parx to follow a great win in the Grade 3 Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs in June. She has seven wins (two Grade 3 scores) and two seconds in 13 career starts.

Somali Lemonade -Michael Matz trained filly is coming off her biggest result to date - a win in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial over Miz Ida and Pianist at Parx July 2 after a fourth in an Allowance Optional Claiming in June and a 6 1/2 month layoff. She placed in three of seven graded stakes races before being sidelined but looked great last time out. Somali Lemonade has three wins, two seconds and two third place finishes in 13 career starts. Joel Rosario will be in the saddle from post 6.

Ballston Spa Stakes betting at Saratoga Race Course with

Hard Not to Like - made her 2012 debut with a good second place finish in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 7 after a good juvenile campaign. Her only other start of 2012 came back in May - a sixth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. She had a disappointing fifth in the Grade 3 Suwannee River Stakes at Gulfstream February 9 after a nice win in the Grade 3 Marshua's River Stakes at Gulfstream January 5 and an eight month layoff. Hard Not to Like's last three starts have been typically inconsistent - a sixth last time out in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine July 7 followed a good second in the Grade 3 Gallorette May 18 and an ugly eighth in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April at Keeneland. Hard Not to Like drew post seven and will have Edgar Prado guiding her.

Pianist - Chad Brown trained filly has a couple straight wins last summer including the minor Given Stakes at Belmont Park in September. She followed that with a pair of fourths - the Grade 3 Pin Oak Valley View Stakes at Keeneland and the Stardusk Stake behind Channel Lady in November. She started 2013 with a good score in an Allowance Optional Claiming on February 7 and has been up and down in graded stakes action since. Last time out was an OK third in the Grade 3 Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx July 2 after her best career result - a win in the Grade 3 Gallorette Handicap over Hard Not to Like at Pimlico in May. This after an ugly fifth in the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream in March. Mike Smith will get the mount from post 8.

Embarr - Susan Cooney pupil won the Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico in April in her first start in 5 1/2 months and followed that with a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes May 18. Since then she has failed to place in three starts - a fourth in the Grade 3 All Along Stakes, a third in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap and a fourth last time out in the minor Ed La Rose Stakes here August 3. She looked great in the summer of 2012 with a three race win streak including a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming and the minor Brookmeade Stakes in July but has failed to regain that form since.

Skyfall - Main Track Only entry has seven career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher - both Allowance scores in the spring. She has since ran two minor stakes races finishing fifth last time out in the Revidere Stakes June 23 and third in the Little Silver Stakes in May - both results at Monmouth.

2013 Ballston Spa Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 10 on Saratoga Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:38 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Laughing (IRE) J. Lezcano A. Goldberg
2 Pianist M. Smith C. Brown
3 Miz Ida S. Bridgmohan S. Margolis
4 Centre Court J. Velazquez G. Arnold, II
5 Hungry Island J. Castellano C. McGaughey III
6 Somali Lemonade J. Rosario M. Matz
7 Hard Not to Like E. Prado M. Matz
8 Embarr P. Morales S. Cooney
9 Skyfall . unknown jockey T. Pletcher

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