Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes comes our way from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York this Saturday, August 23. A nice purse of $500,000 and an automatic berth into the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf will be on the line for fillies and mares three years old and upward willing to go seven furlongs on Saratoga's main track.
The Ballerina Stakes has attracted a field of nine to go in race 11 on Saratoga's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 5:08 PM. Here is a look into the credentials of all nine combatants for this Grade 1 stakes.
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2014 Ballerina Stakes Race Favorite Entries
My Miss Aurelia - 2012 Eclipse Award Winner for Two Year Old Fillies - Todd Pletcher trained mare has just two starts since then - she won her first six career starts including the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and the 2012 Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes. She ended 2012 with a second in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic and a second in the minor Grade 1 La Brea Stakes. She had one start in 2013 - a third in the Grade 3 Azeri in March before heading to the sidelines for 16 months. My Miss Aurelia returned to action July 21 and finished an OK third after getting bumped in the minor Shine Again Stakes in July of this year. She hopes to get back to her winning ways Saturday when she leaves from post 4 with John Velazquez aboard. Despite the light schedule the last two years My Miss Aurelia will be looking for her first win since September, 2012 as the 3-1 morning line favorite.
Better Lucky - Thomas Albertini trained mare won the minor Shine Again Stakes over Grace Hall and My Miss Aurelia last time out on this track July 21 after an ugly eighth in the Grade 1 Just a Game Stakes at Belmont Park in June. Before that Better Lucky placed in eight straight starts. She has six wins, three seconds and five third place finishes in 17 career starts overall. In April Better Lucky had a second behind Judy the Beauty in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes at Keeneland in her first start of 2014 after finishing 2013 with a third in the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park, a terrific win in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes in October and a third in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes here in September. Better Lucky has two Grade 1 scores in her career and has been very competitive every time out the last couple of years, except for on bad outing two back. She will have Joel Rosario aboard from gate 2 at 4-1 odds as she returns to dirt (where she's won 3 of 6 starts) after a good stretch of races on turf.
Ballerina Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
La Verdad - impressive Linda Rice trained filly has nine wins and a second place finish in 12 career starts. She is coming off a career worst performance - a fifth in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Handicap here July 28 after a four race win streak - the minor Dancin Renee Stakes July 3, the minor Critical Eye Stakes May 31, the Grade 2 Distaff Handicap and the minor Broadway Stakes in March. She entered her graded stakes debut - the Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel Park February 22 on a five race win streak as well - the lone blemish in her career came in her debut. Jose Ortiz has the mount at 7-2 odds from gate 6.
Artemis Agrotera - Michael Hushion trainee is coming off an impressive 10 1/4 length Allowance Optional Claiming score here July 23 after a disappointing eighth in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes in June, an equally disappointing fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and a win in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes over Sweet Reason at Belmont Park October 6. Before that was an 11 3/4 length MSW score in her debut at Saratoga August 16. She has three wins in five career starts and hopes to carry some momentum off her win last time out. Rajiv Maragh rides for the first time from the rail Saturday at 5-1 odds.
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Willet - James Iselin trainee has 17 career starts with eight wins, six seconds and a third place finish but has won two of her last three starts. Last time out was one of those wins - a six furlong Allowance July 30 by four lengths after a second in the minor Dancin Renee Stakes July 3 and a win in the minor Touch of Love Stakes in December. She has three career graded stakes starts - a second in the Grade 2 Go for Wand Handicap in November, 2012 being her best result. Willet looks for her first ever graded stakes score at 6-1 on the morning line with Joel Rosario in the irons from post 5.
Hot Stones - has 12 career starts with six wins, three seconds and two third place finishes. She enters having won three of her last four starts - the Grade 3 Bed o' Roses Handicap two back at Belmont Park and an Allowance Optional Claiming in March and is coming off an OK third in the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap here July 27 with a second in her stakes debut - the minor Critical Eye Stakes May 31 sandwiched in there. Irad Ortiz gets the call from post 8 at 6-1 odds as Hot Stones looks for her second graded stakes score in her last three starts.
Voodoo Tales - makes her stakes debut Saturday for trainer Nicholas Esler having won three of her last four starts. Last time out was an Allowance score at Belmont Park July 10 after a Starter Allowance win in June a fourth in an Allowance in May and a Starter Allowance score in January. She step up in competition in good form and will have Manuel Franco aboard from gate 7 at 15-1 odds.
Geeky Gorgeous - four time stakes winner steps into graded stakes company for the first time Saturday after a nice 4 1/2 length win in the minor Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park July 26. She won three straight minor stakes starts to end her 2013 campaign as well. Geeky Gorgeous has won four of her last six starts overall but may be in over her head in this one. She will be sent off at 20-1 odds from the outside post.
Kipling's Joy - Martin Wolfson trained filly has 22 career starts with just four wins, five seconds and four third place finishes - two wins, four seconds and a third place finish in nine starts this year. She has a win and three seconds in her last four starts - a second last time out in the minor Paseana Stakes July 5, an Allowance score before that and two straight seconds in Allowance Optional Claiming races - all results at Gulfstream. She has one career graded stakes start - a sixth in the Grade 2 Sabin Stakes in February. Junior Alvarado gets the mount from post 3 as Kipling's Joy looks for her first stakes score as the longest shot in the field - 30-1 odds.
2014 Ballerina Stakes Entries & Odds
Race 11 on Saratoga Race Course's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:08 PM.
|1||Artemis Agrotera||R. Maragh||M. Hushion|
|2||Better Lucky||J. Castellano||T. Albertrani|
|3||Kipling's Joy||J. Alvarado||M. Wolfson|
|4||My Miss Aurelia||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|
|5||Willet||J. Rosario||J. Iselin|
|6||La Verdad||J. Ortiz||L. Rice|
|7||Voodoo Tales||M. Franco||N. Esler|
|8||Hot Stones||I. Ortiz, Jr.||B. Levine|
|9||Geeky Gorgeous||A. Serpa||D. Lopez|