Designer Legs, a Louisiana-bred filly who cost $10,000 at auction and began her career in the upper Midwest, shipped into Saratoga Race Course and emerged with a grade II victory to her credit in the $196,000 Adirondack Stakes Aug. 11 (VIDEO).
The 6 1/2-furlong Adirondack, with a six-horse field following the scratch of Untapable, was expected to be a test to see whether Fiftyshadesofgold could improve off her stakes romp in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs for trainer Bret Calhoun in her second career start. The public liked the Clarence Scharbauer Jr. homebred's chances to the point of betting her down to 3-10 favoritism as the field went to post.
Who's in Town and Joel Rosario emerged on top after a quarter mile in a quick :21.79 while stalked by longshot Hop the Six, with the favorite strategically placed third by Corey Lanerie. After a half was completed in a sizzling :44.57, Who's in Town continued to lead into the stretch. She was soon joined by Designer Legs, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, as Fiftyshadesofgold was attempting to make a run along the inside.
As Who's in Town, on the inside, and Designer Legs, about three out from the rail, engaged each other, Fiftyshadesofgold made her move in the lane before having to check after contact was made with Who's in Town. Who's in Town won the duel with Designer Legs, eking out a game neck victory in 1:16.42.
After a steward's inquiry, Who's in Town was disqualified and placed fourth, with Designer Legs awarded the victory. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Thank You Marylou, who had improved her position to third in the stretch, was moved up to second, with Fiftyshadesofgold awarded third.
The winner returned $35, $11.20, and $4.30. Thank You Marylou was worth $7.70 and $3.40, with the favorite paying $2.10 for third. The field was completed by Who's in Town and Hop the Six. Charmed Hour, a Harlan's Holiday filly trained by Ken McPeek, broke down near the half mile pole, sustaining a catastrophic injury.
According to Dr. Scott Palmer, the American Association of Equine Practitioners on-call veterinarian, Charmed Hour suffered an open fracture of right front cannon bone and was euthanized on the track.
A daughter of Graeme Hall bred by Tommy Hewett, Designer Legs is trained by Dallas Stewart for Valene Farms. Purchased by Murray Valene for $10,000 from the Clear Creek Stud consignment to the 2012 Breeders' Sales Company of Louisiana September yearling sale, the filly began her career for trainer Gary M. Scherer.
After breaking her maiden at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, Designer Legs successfully moved up in company, taking the $75,000 Prairie Gold Lassie Stakes at Prairie Meadows before being transferred to Stewart.
"She ran a great race. Very nice filly. She's going to get better," Stewart said. "I give a lot of credit to Murray. I had her early and he sent her to Minnesota because his father is up there. She ran up there and of course she ran in a stake in Iowa. Murray called me and said, 'Hey, we're going to get that filly back. She's the real deal.' A lot of credit goes to Murray and (former trainer) Gary Scherer. She was ready to run; I try just not to mess her up.
"She fought back and forth with that horse (Who's in Town) and it came up the right way."
"Well, I thought I was sitting a good trip down the backside," said Bridgmohan. "Turning for home me and (Rosario) was kind of fighting it out. (Rosario) kind of bumped (Fiftyshadesofgold) a little bit and she hesitated just enough. His filly (Who's in Town) was game but we got lucky and got put up."
"It's very disappointing," Calhoun said of Fiftyshadesofgold's outcome. "I thought we had the best horse. It looked like we were coming through and going to win. There was a pretty good-sized hole there; we were there. She looks like she's all right right now."
"I was sitting behind the leaders trying to find a spot to go," Lanerie said, adding, "Absolutely; No doubt" that he would have won had the incident not occurred. "I saw (Rosario) go to the left-handed stick so I committed to the rail. He came off and I had nothing but room there. I came in there and he just shut me off."
"What can I do? I was real pleased with the way my filly ran," trainer Matz said of Who's in Town. "She was game. I didn't think she'd be on the lead. If there was a hole there, it was only open for a little bit. As long as she comes out of the race OK, we just have to go on from there."