Rightly So found grade I success for the first time when she led all the way in the $250,000 Ballerina Stakes (VIDEO) over a speed-favoring Saratoga main track Aug. 28.
The Tony Dutrow-trained 4-year-old filly was the fifth pacesetter to win on dirt at the Spa in as many races. Breaking from the rail for Cornelio Velasquez, Rightly So went to the front in the seven-furlong Ballerina while drifting out and outfought Warbling to gain command.
She finished in a strong time of 1:22.58 over a fast track, drawing away to an easy four-length victory over Warbling. Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. I) winner Jessica Is Back finished third, a neck behind Warbling and a neck better than Devil by Design.
Zayat Stables owns Rightly So, a New York-bred daughter of Read the Footnotes--Fit Right In, by Out of Place. She won Belmont Park's Bed O' Roses Handicap (gr. III), also at seven furlongs, in her last start July 5 by a head over Qualia, who was eased coming off the turn in the Ballerina.
Informed Decision, the favorite in the field of eight older fillies and mares, was sixth.
Rightly So carved quick quarter-mile fractions of :22.26 and :44.80, repelling a challenge from Warbling to reach the furlong pole in 1:09.29 with a one-length lead. Racing in the winning path toward the center of the track, she shook off her rivals under hand urging.
“My filly broke well and went right to the lead and she finished well too.," Velasquez said. "I had a lot of horse at the quarter pole, so she really ran a big one. Speed has been holding up well today, and I was fortunate to have a good break and make the lead.”
Jessica Is Back, also close early while racing third, lacked a needed response. Informed Decision, the reigning female sprint champion, came under pressure from jockey Julien Leparoux early on the turn and had nothing left for the stretch run after steadying briefly between rivals.
“She has not run well on the turn, on the dirt, for some reason, even though she normally finishes well," trainer Jonathan Sheppard said of his synthetic track standout. "I think she’d have finished better today, had she not had to be taken up. But she wasn’t going to win it.”
Bred by Sequel 2003, Rightly So dominated Empire State rivals in 2009, winning five of six starts, and adding a pair of stakes wins over state breeds early this year. Dutrow tried her against open company for the first time in the 6 1/2-furlong Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont May 29. Rightly So yielded late to finish second by a half-length to Hour Glass after setting a fast pace. Her career mark stands at 7-3-1 in 11 races with $480,050 in earnings.
“It was just a fantastic performance today," Dutrow said. "She's a filly who is capable of running fast the entire race. She outdid herself today. She's been an overachiever, and once again she raised her game to the top. We just couldn't be any prouder of her.”
Zayat Stables purchased the dark bay or brown filly for $220,000 at the 2008 Ocala Breeders Sale Company February select sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Sent off as the fourth choice in the Ballerina, Rightly So carried 117 pounds and paid $11.40, $5.40, and $4.10 and topped a $63 exacta. Warbling, third in Saratoga's Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. II) Aug. 8 for trainer Eddie Kenneally, returned $6.80 and $4.60. Jessica Is Back, the 122-pound top weight, was $4.40 to show.
Devil by Design, First Passage, Informed Decision, Pretty Prolific, and Qualia completed the order of finish. Second choice Qualia, who was reshod in the paddock, had her saddle slip when she bumped with Pretty Prolific on the turn and bore out badly.