The top-three finishers from June's Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park - featuring winner Search Results, runner-up Obligatory and Make Mischief - will again comprise a talented field in a prestigious stake for 3-year-old fillies in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test Stakes at seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, August 7.
The 96th edition of the Test Stakes, slated as Race 8 on the 12-race docket, is one of five stakes on a loaded card, headlined by the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney Stakes for 4-year-olds and up that is a "Win and You're In" qualifier to the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Also on tap will be the Grade 1, $1 million Saratoga Derby Invitational as the middle jewel of the Turf Triple series for 3-year-olds, as well as the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares on the turf and the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure for older horses on the Mellon turf course.
||Ricardo Santana, Jr.
||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Search Results (Klaravich Stables), who posted a half-length win in the Acorn going a one-turn mile on Belmont Stakes Day June 5, has won four of her five career starts for four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown. The daughter of Flatter did not race as a juvenile but started her sophomore year with three straight wins, building on a debut victory in January at Gulfstream Park with a pair of stake wins at Aqueduct Racetrack in the one-mile Busher Invitational in March and the 1 1/8-mile Grade 3 Gazelle in April.
That victory at the Big A spring-boarded Search Results' appearance in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30, where she was forwardly placed and challenged Malathaat in the stretch before settling for second, just a neck off the winner. Five weeks later, Search Results fended off Obligatory and Make Mischief's late charge to win the Acorn, earning an identical 95 Beyer Speed Figure she achieved in the Kentucky Oaks.
Irad Ortiz, Jr., aboard for the Gazelle and Kentucky Oaks, will return to ride Search Results, drawing post 7.
Brown will also send out Three Chimneys Farm's Always Carina, who won her first two starts before running second to fellow Test participant Zaajel in the Grade 2 Mother Goose going 1 1/16 miles on June 26 at Belmont. The lightly raced daughter of Malibu Moon will make her Saratoga debut, drawing post 5. Flavien Prat has the call.
Gary Barber's Make Mischief won her debut in June 2020 at Belmont before posting a pair of runner-up efforts in graded stakes at the Spa, finishing behind Dayoutoftheoffice in the Grade 3 Schuylerville and the Grade 2 Adirondack.
Trainer Mark Casse, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame across the street from Saratoga Race Course on Friday, sent Make Mischief to Chris Englehart to start her 3-year-old year, which included a victory by a neck over Brattle House in the one-mile Maddie May in February at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Returning to Casse for the spring, Make Mischief has been a contender when facing top-flight divisional competition again, running third in the Grade 2 Eight Belles in April at Churchill Downs at the Test distance before running third in the Grade 1 Acorn. The Into Mischief filly ran a competitive fourth in the Grade 2 Mother Goose last out and will return to Saratoga with Tyler Gaffalione set to ride from post 6.
"When we broke her, I told Gary I thought she was a pretty good filly," Casse said. "I think she just needed a little more ground and a little bit of time to grow up. Her races this year have been good. I kept her with Chris Englehart over the winter since we didn't have any horses in New York at that time. He ran her right away and she won and he did a great job with her."
Make Mischief, bred in New York by Avanti Stable, is the field's most experienced entrant with 12 starts, compiling a 4-3-2 record with earnings of $365,750.
Her stablemate, Live Oak Plantation's Souper Sensational, notched her first graded stakes win last out, displaying a strong closing kick to draw away for a 3 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Victory Ride going 6 1/2 furlongs on July 10 at Belmont.
Casse campaigned the daughter of Curlin in a series of Kentucky Oaks preps at Fair Grounds to start 2021, and she responded with a runner-up performance in the Silverbulletday. After an off-the-board effort in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra in February, Souper Sensational returned to the same track to earn third in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks also going 1 1/16 mile in March.
Souper Sensational returned to sprinting in April, finishing fourth in the Eight Belles, and last out earned a career-best 95 Beyer for her Victory Ride win over a Big Sandy track rated good.
Casse said Charlotte Weber, owner of Live Oak Plantation, helped select the $725,000 purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale.
"She is by Curlin out of an Indian Charlie mare, but if you look at her she's more a sprinter type," Casse said. "She [Weber] helped pick this one out. We bought her here in Saratoga. She's a really good horsewoman herself, she knows what she's looking at. We go around at the sale and she usually picks out one or two and that's how we got her."
Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride Souper Sensational for the first time, drawing post 2.
Juddmonte's Obligatory also was a filly who benefitted from cutting back in distance, going from a fourth-place finish in the Fair Grounds Oaks to a one-length win in the Eight Belles in her first stakes sprint for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
After earning a 94 Beyer for her second to Search Results in the Acorn, the fellow Curlin filly will compete at Saratoga for the first time, drawing post 4 in tandem with Jose Ortiz, who won this race in back-to-back years aboard American Gal and Separationofpowers from 2017-18.
Shadwell Stable's Zaajel garnered a 96 number for her 1 1/4-length Mother Goose win for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher. Zaajel made her turf debut in the Grade 2 Edgewood the race prior, finishing seventh in April over the Churchill grass, before Pletcher moved her back to dirt and running her around one turn.
"That made some of the difference," Pletcher said. "The race before that was an experiment on the turf that didn't pan out. The time before that in Louisiana she misbehaved in the gate, got off to a poor start and got a little rank in the first turn. I think she'll handle two turns down the road but we wanted to keep her and Malathaat separated for the time being, so backing up to seven-eighths makes the most sense."
Joel Rosario, aboard for the Mother Goose score, will ride again from post 3.
Rounding out the field is Illumination, an eight-length winner to break her maiden at fifth asking last out in June at Santa Anita Park for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert [post 1, fellow Hall of Famer John Velazquez]; and Bella Sofia, who ran second in the Jersey Girl on June 6 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez [post 8, Luis Saez].
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