Chasing Yesterday, Summer Wind Equine's homebred half-sister to American Pharoah, will make her stakes debut on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course as part of a field of 12 juvenile fillies for the Grade 1, $350,000 Spinaway Stakes at seven furlongs.
Carded as Race 10, the 127th running of the Spinaway - a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on November 2 at Churchill Downs - will join the Grade 1, $750,000 Woodward as part of a live broadcast on NBCSN airing from 5:30-7 p.m. ET.
||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
||Love My Honey
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Chasing Yesterday won her July 28 unveiling in memorable fashion, stalking the pace before drawing off to a 4 ¼-length maiden special weight win under confident handling from Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith at Del Mar.
The chestnut Tapit filly is out of Littleprincessemma, who produced 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah, as well as Grade 1-placed American Cleopatra and stakes-placed St. Patrick's Day.
"She's not a really big filly, but she's starting to fill out. She worked well for this and she shipped well, so we'll find out what she's made of," said Baffert by phone from California. "We've loved her from Day 1. She's always shown that she's special. Hopefully, she gets a nice, clean trip and it sets her up for something in the future.
"She doesn't look like Pharoah. She probably looks more like her mother, but I see a lot of Tapit in her too," he added. "Her disposition is like Pharoah's though. She's a sweetheart, very loveable, like Abel Tasman in that way. When she gets on the track though, she's like Pharaoh - all racehorse. She just turns it on."
Smith has the return call. The pair will break from post 7.
John Oxley's Catherinethegreat will try to bookend the Saratoga meet following her 4 ¼-length victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville on opening weekend. The gray Florida-bred by Uncaptured was a well-clear second in her debut and broke her maiden by 10 ¼ lengths over a sloppy and sealed track in June before taking the July 20 Schuylerville gate to wire for trainer Mark Casse.
"She caught a pretty rough track [in her debut], and the winner I think had two starts already and had run well," said Casse. "That filly beat us pretty good, but I was real happy with our filly. She kept running. When she came back, I thought she would run well, but I didn't know she would win by 10 and an 80 Beyer.
"Then of course, when we came up here, a lot of people thought it was just that she liked mud [but] I felt pretty good about it. Last race, we had the one hole, and Jose said if she comes away from there running he was going for it, but I think she's rateable too."
Catherinethegreat will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post 4.
Six-time Spinaway winner Todd Pletcher will saddle a talented trio in Virginia Eloise, Guacamole, and Nonna Madeline.
Virginia Eloise was an impressive, five-length debut winner at Belmont in July before stepping up to the stakes level last time out the Grade 2 Adirondack on August 11. In that effort, the Curlin filly rank for Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano through the early going before putting in a late run to finish second by a half-length.
"She was a little too far back last time and she was a little green when the dirt hit her in the face. She did like a lot of inexperienced horses will do and she overreacted and backed up," said Pletcher. "She got on track a little too late, but she closed well. She's one that we feel like is bred to handle longer distances, so we are looking forward to stretching her out a little more. I think ultimately two turns will be her game."
Guacamole was a wide-running third in the Adirondack following her Spa unveiling, where the Flat Out filly battled Super Simple down the lane to come up a nose short at the wire on July 26. She was elevated to the win following the disqualification of Super Simple for interference.
"I thought she ran a respectable race in the Adirondack," Pletcher said. "She's a hearty filly, maintains her weight well, so we're looking to try her again."
Nonna Madeline, by Candy Ride, is exiting a runner-up finish to Catherinethegreat in the Schuylerville, where she broke a step slow and was unable to catch the frontrunner.
"She didn't get away well, but she made a solid move and finished a nice second, and we've been pointing for this since then," said Pletcher.
Virginia Eloise will have the services of Castellano from post 3. Guacamole will break from post 8 with Luis Saez aboard, while Nonna Madeline will be ridden from post 5 by Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Rounding out the field for the Spinaway are Restless Rider, a game 11 ¼-length winner of the Debutante on June 30 at Churchill; runaway Miss Ohio heroine Baby Nina; maiden winner Sippican Harbor, who graduated on August 12 at Saratoga by an eye-catching 17 lengths in an off-the-turf maiden special weight; as well as Cassies Dreamer, Bella Ciao, Reflect, and Love My Honey.
Restless Rider anxious for third straight win in G1 Spinaway
Trainer Kenny McPeek has already pulled off one Grade 1-sized upset in the 2018 Saratoga meet, having sent Eskimo Kisses to a dramatic, last-to-first victory at odds of 9-1 in the Alabama on August 18. On Saturday, he'll try for another one when he saddles Restless Rider in the $350,000 Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies.
"She's extremely talented and we've been waiting for this particular race," said McPeek, who trains Restless Rider for Fern Circle Stable and Three Chimneys Farm. "We think it sets her up for a really good fall. We didn't want to press on her too early in the season. She's already shown that he had a lot of raw talent and this is a good next step."
On paper, the gray daughter of Distorted Humor is perfect in two starts, even if the execution didn't always go to plan. In her debut, Restless Rider was fractious behind the gate, dropping jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. and falling before reloading to post a 2 ¾-length win in the June 8 maiden special weight.
She came back three weeks later in the six-furlong Debutante on June 30 at Churchill Downs, where she raced near the pace and checked sharply on the backstretch when he pacesetter pulled up abruptly after the half-mile pole. Restless Rider recovered quickly, reengaged the pace with a six-wide move into the stretch and drew off to an eye-catching 11 ¼-length victory.
"She's got such a quick turn of foot that she can overcome stuff. She's a rapid-fast and extremely smart filly," McPeek said. "She's tactical. You can lay her off of the pace but if you wanted her to go to the front, she'd probably go. Good horses overcome a lot of things and she certainly acts like she's that kind of horse."
Hernandez has the return call aboard Restless Rider and drew post 11 in the 12-horse field for the Spinaway, a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Juvenile Fillies in November at Churchill. The $150,000 yearling purchase has been installed as the 6-1 third-choice on the morning line behind Chasing Yesterday, half-sister to American Pharoah for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and Catherinethegreat, the gate-to-wire Grade 3 Schuylerville winner for the Mark Casse barn on opening weekend.
"Anytime you can get Grade 1 status for a filly, you're going to go for it. We pulled it off once this meet with Eskimo Kisses in the Alabama, so we'll try it again," McPeek said.
Reflect settles into the Spa before G1 Spinaway Stakes
Impact Thoroughbreds and Madaket Stable's California-based Reflect has settled into her temporary digs at Saratoga in good order as she prepares for her bid in the Grade 1 Spinaway.
The chestnut filly by Trappe Shot broke her maiden at first asking, taking a five-furlong maiden special by 5 ¾ lengths on June 7 at Santa Anita Park for trainer Keith Desormeaux. She came back two months later in the Grade 2 Sorrento at seven furlongs on August 5 at Del Mar, where she chased the early pace before fading to fifth behind Bellafina.
"She won easy for us first time out and then I think she had to hustle too much in her last race," said Julie Clark, assistant to Desormeaux. "She broke real sharp and stayed up close to the pace and I think she just tired a little bit. Her first race was early at Santa Anita and then there was nowhere to run until Del Mar. So, she had been on the shelf for about two months and she's a big, heavy-bodied filly, so it's not ideal to keeping her fit. She probably kind of needed that race."
Ridden by Hall of Famer Kent Desormeaux in her first two starts, Reflect will have Manny Franco in the saddle for the Spinaway, where she drew post 10 at 10-1 on the morning line in the full field of 12.
Reflect arrived from Southern California on Tuesday and got her first look at the Spa Wednesday morning with an easy gallop around the main track, said Clark. She'll gallop on Friday, following Thursday's walk day.
"The exercise rider said she handled the track really well, which is always good to hear because it's so different than Santa Anita and Del Mar," said Clark. "She's done really well. She got to work out some of the energy they get sometimes from shipping. Plus, it's nice to come here and keep her at seven furlongs and she's such a kind filly that I think she'll relax [on Saturday]. She doesn't have to be up there on the pace and hopefully, she'll have enough to work out a good trip."