Trainer Todd Pletcher mathematically clinched his ninth training title at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday, and 22 of his wins have been with 2-year-olds.
He’s in a position to bolster that total in a big way as Saratoga
offers the final round of graded stakes for juveniles this weekend, starting with today’s Grade I Spinaway for fillies.
Pletcher has two in the Spinaway, Dreaming of Julia and Corail, and on Monday he will saddle two colts for Starlight Racing, Shanghai Bobby and Lawn Man, in the Grade II Hopeful.
Owned by Stonestreet Stables, Dreaming of Julia is coupled with another Stonestreet filly, Teen Pauline, trained by Steve Asmussen.
Dreaming of Julia won her debut
by 101⁄2 lengths on Aug. 6, and
Corail, a daughter of Indian Charlie owned by Wertheimer and Frere, earned her shot at the Spinaway by winning her career debut by 31⁄2 lengths on Aug. 1.
“They’re both good-sized fillies who I think will appreciate more distance down the road,” Pletcher said. “They are similar in that both were very professional in their
debuts and have tactical speed and the ability to stretch out, we believe. I think they’ll both be prominently placed early.”
Dreaming of Julia is a daughter of A.P. Indy out of Dream Rush, who won the 2007 Test.
Teen Pauline, who will break from the rail under Julien Leparoux, also made a big first impression at the meet, setting a five-furlong track record in 56.53 seconds on July 25 to win by 43⁄4 lengths.
Another top contender in the Spinaway is Seasoned Warrior, who won by 33⁄4 lengths on Aug. 12 for trainer Bill Mott and Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation.
She’s by Majestic Warrior out of the Cure the Blues mare Saoirse, and will break from the outside under Junior Alvarado.
Seasoned Warrior debuted at Belmont Park in June with a loss by a half-length to Baby J, who is also in the Spinaway field, before her impressive win at Saratoga.
“We were trying to get a race in her so we would have her experienced to possibly win up here, and she did so in good style,” Mott said. “So we’re looking forward to running her.”
Also on the card is the 105th running of the Grade III Saranac for 3-year-olds going a mile and an eighth on the inner turf course.
Trainer Graham Motion hasn’t had a very sucessful meet, but he’ll saddle the 2-1 morning-line favorite, Team Valor International’s Lucky Chappy, who is coming off a second by a length to Silver Max in the Virginia Derby.
Among those facing Lucky Chappy are Excaper, never worse than fourth in eight career starts and second to Wrote in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, and Quick Wit, who won the Grade II national Museum of Racing Hall of Fame at Saratoga on Aug. 10, by a nose over Csaba.
“It’s been complicated, which is why I had to run three in the Secretariat,” Quick Wit trainer Dale Romans said. “But there is a lot of good racing for these 3-year-olds, so I’ve been able to split them up.
“He’s been a dirt horse and he’s just turned a turf horse, and he can still run on the dirt.”