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Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Little Girls are Made Of

Two dynamite juvenile filly races at Saratoga on Sunday, beginning with a maiden special weight going six furlongs in race 7. Only two of the nine entrants have previous starts, and both come out of the same July 1 Belmont race where the winner, Stopspendingmaria came back to finish second in the G3 Schuylerville. Networking finished seven lengths behind Stopspendingmaria, and nine lengths ahead of Hey Valentina who has finished dead-last in both her efforts since then. Fourth in that race, Afaaf has the pedigree to run better—she’s a half-sister to juvenile stakeswinner Rule, and her dam Rockcide is a half-sister to Funnycide who won his first start at 2 by nearly 15 lengths. Of the first-time starters, several have standout pedigrees. Todd Pletcher-trained Dance Quietly is a half-sister of Saint Liam (who was unraced at 2) and a full-sister to American Dance who finished third in the G2 Remsen at 2; her dam Quiet Dance was runner-up in the G2 Demoiselle. Steve Asmussen-trained Barn Diva is a half-sister to High Cotton who was G2-placed at 2; her unraced dam Happy Tune is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Storm Song. Both Dance Quietly and Barn Diva should take some money, but for a bigger price, I like Pampering in the exotics. Her dam Hot Attraction narrowly lost her first start at 2, then rebounded to win by over 7 lengths next out; her second dam Changing Ways won the G2 Schuylerville by 4 lengths second out, and her daughter (and Hot Attraction’s half-sister) Pumpkin Shell also won as a juvenile. Trainer James Baker sends out this daughter of Hennessy with Calvin Borel up.

Race 9 is the G2 Adirondack, which raises more questions than answers for me. We’ve got two (Miss Sarah Brown and Because I Like It) with Calder form, which doesn’t entirely instill confidence, although Garrett Gomez taking the ride aboard Miss Sarah Brown is encouraging. Two (Silvislip and Position Limit) come in with nice wins on off-tracks, with Position Limit’s being more impressive. Two (Nina Fever and Tristanme) have previous graded stakes experience, as Tristanme finished a fast-coming second in the G3 Debutante while Nina Fever ran against the boys in the G3 Kentucky Juvenile back in April—against the likes of subsequent G3 Bashford Manor runner-up Lou Brissie, next-out victor (by 12 lengths) Boys at Tosconova, Colleen Stakes victress Twelve Pack Shelly and Wetzel who’s entered in Monday’s Saratoga Special. That’s a helluva form line and, combined with her recent works, sets Nina Fever apart from the others for me. Bob Baffert sends Alienation off a maiden victory on turf at Hollywood and after a bullet work most recently, she looks ready for dirt. For a price, you could do worse than Coax Liberty who lost first-up to Surmount (subsequently a narrow runner-up to stakeswinner Fastation in the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies), but posted a nice win from just off the pace last out. Her dam Chelsie’s House was a warhorse, racing from age 2 to 6—stakes placed as a juvenile, she also won the Decoration Day Handicap at five. Her second dam Coax Chelsie was runner-up in the 1988 G2 Schuylerville, as well as the Golden Rod, and third-place finisher in the Debutante.