Diamonds in the Rough: July 25, 2015

Diamonds in the Rough: July 25, 2015

The much-anticipated Sararotga meet began on July 24th, and a trio of exciting races for 2yo fillies were among the ten races run. Here’s a quick recap of what happened!

Saratoga Race 2: Maiden Special Weight for 2yo fillies
5 1/2 furlongs on dirt

Lemon Liqueur was bet as if she couldn’t lose, going off as the decisive favorite at 2.30-1, and the daughter of Exchange Rate lived up to expectations with an impressive victory. After settling in fourth place early on, two lengths behind an opening quarter-mile fraction of :22.86, Lemon Liqueur accelerated sharply when guided to the outside by jockey Jose Ortiz, then finished strongly to draw off after a half-mile in :47.27 and win by 2 1/2 lengths in the time of 1:06.23 seconds. Trained by Richard Violette, Jr., Lemon Liqueur has the pedigree to suggest that she could stretch out in distance, and the fact that she ran her final three-sixteenths in less the 19 seconds–while drawing off powerfully at the finish–suggests the same. Here Comes Rosie tracked the pace before staying on to finish second, while pace-setting Freudsalm led through the first half-mile before tiring in the final furlong.

Link to the chart of Lemon Liqueur’s maiden win
Link to Lemon Liqueur’s pedigree
Link to the replay of Lemon Liqueur’s maiden win

Saratoga Race 4: Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III)
6 furlongs on dirt

Eight fillies contested the first graded stakes race of the Saratoga meet, and Todd Pletcher’s Positively Royal was the favorite off an impressive debut win at Belmont. However, Positively Royal failed to fire while chasing fast fractions of :22.15 and :45.52 and retreated to finish last as Off the Tracks scored an impressive victory. Trained by Roderick Rodriguez, the daughter of Curlin chased the pace set by eventual fourth-place finisher Moment Is Right, then seized command at the top of the stretch and ran away from her rivals to win by 3 1/2 lengths in the time of 1:11.27. As a daughter of Curlin, who tends to sire horses that perform better with maturity and longer distances, it’s very impressive that Off the Tracks was able to score such a convincing victory sprinting six furlongs, and she looks like a very promising candidate for the major races later this year. Banree, a Wesley Ward-trained filly, settled in fourth early on before rallying well to finish second by 4 3/4 lengths over Decked Out, who ran an even race to finish third.

Link to the chart of the Schuylerville
Link to Off the Track’s pedigree
Link to the replay of the Schuylerville

Saratoga Race 6: Maiden Special Weight for 2yo fillies
5 1/2 furlongs on dirt

The only filly in the field that had a previous race under her belt was Just Wicked, a daughter of Tapit trained by Steve Asmussen for owner Ron Winchell. She was only the second choice in a field of ten, but after saving ground throughout, she showed terrific determination when battling through a narrow opening on the rail in the homestretch to win by 1 3/4 lengths. Her final time of 1:06.63 was two-fifths of a second slower than Lemon Liqueur ran earlier on the card despite an identical half-mile fraction of :47.27. Lady Devil, a Chad Brown-trained filly, tracked the pace and exchanged bumps with Just Wicked in the homestretch before tiring slightly to finish second, while pace-setting First Salute held on to finish third, 3 3/4 lengths behind Lady Devil.

Link to the chart of Just Wicked’s maiden win
Link to Just Wicked’s pedigree
Link to the replay of Just Wicked’s maiden win


Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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