The racing world has been long awaiting Wednesday's opening of the Saratoga meeting in upstate New York--so why must we say "so long" so soon? The traditional opening-day feature, the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) for 2-year-old fillies, returns after a one-year hiatus and the morning line favorite is the unbeaten Adieu, which translated from French means "goodbye."
While not appropriately named for the first of 36 days of racing at "the Summer Place To Be," she is appropriately named for what she's said to her rivals in both of her starts. The bay filly from the second-leading first-crop sire El Corredor
said ta-ta to a maiden special-weight field at Keeneland April 22 by 4 1/4 lengths at 3-5, then bid five rivals a fond farewell while taking the 5 1/2-furlong Astoria Stakes July 3 at Belmont Park as the 3-2 favorite.
Her latest move on the track came on July 21 when she went five furlongs in 1:03 flat at Belmont Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Glencrest Farm, Adieu is out of the winning At the Threshold mare Irene's Talkin. Sold as a yearling to Leprechaun Racing just down East Avenue from the main entrance of the track for $140,000 at last year's Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale, Adieu was purchased by bloodstock agent Demi O'Byrne for $300,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-old sale in March. She races for Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith.
Adieu has a powerful one-two punch in the connections department as she is trained by Todd Pletcher and will be ridden by John Velazquez. The trainer/jockey combo has ruled Saratoga the last two years, with Pletcher saddling 35 winners last year (tied his own meet mark set in 2003) and Velazquez riding 65 winners (breaking his single-season mark of 61 also set in 2003).
Goodbyes are also tough, even more so at Saratoga. Adieu will face seven other juvenile fillies in the Adirondack including Astoria second Folklore, the stakes-winning Fifth Avenue, and Little Miss Zip, the stronger looking half of a Puglisi Stables-owned, Steve Klesaris-trained entry. All three contenders are by up-and-coming first-year sires.
Folklore, a Robert and Beverly Lewis homebred by Tiznow
will break from the rail under Cornelio Velasquez. Out of the Storm Cat
mare Contrive, Folklore has one win and two seconds to her credit for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
She finished 3 1/4 lengths behind Fifth Avenue in her debut at Belmont May 18, then came back to break her maiden by four lengths June 3 going five furlongs. The bay filly's last effort was in the Astoria. She also tuned up for her Saratoga debut July 21, getting four furlongs in :48 4/5.
Fifth Avenue will be stepping upstate in search of her second stakes win. The Mark Hennig-trained daughter of Monarchos
held on for a nose victory in the five-furlong Fashion Stakes at Belmont Park June 9. The Hobeau Farm-bred broke her maiden May 18 with the score over Folklore.
Out of the Dehere mare Shop Here, Fifth Avenue was a $90,000 Ocala Breeders Sales Co. yearling and was a $135,000 RNA the following year at their 2-year-old sale in February. She races for G R and S Stable.
Little Miss Zip lived up to her name in her debut at Belmont June 15, getting five furlongs in :57.86 under Norberto Arroyo Jr. The Puglisi Stable runner was bred in New York by Florida horseman Nick de Meric. Out of the Meadowlake
mare Meadow Dream, Little Miss Zip is by City Zip
, Ghostzapper's half-brother and legendary Saratoga runner.
As a 2-year-old in 2000, City Zip
won the Sanford (gr. II), Saratoga Special (gr. II), and Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at the Spa.
First post at Saratoga is 1 p.m. and the Adirondack goes as the eighth-race on a 10-race card. The meet runs through Sept. 5. Other key juvenile filly races include the seven-furlong Spinaway (gr. II) Aug. 26, up a week from its traditional meet-closing spot, and the $65,000 P.G. Johnson Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on the turf Sept. 2.
The Adirondack, first run in 1901, was not run last year and was replaced in the schedule by the Schuylerville (gr. II). This year, the Schulyerville has been scrapped following its downgrading to grade III status for 2005. The initial moves in the stakes schedule were made a year ago in an attempt to help strengthen the fields for the 2-year-old filly stakes.Adirondack Stakes (gr. II), Saratoga, 2-year-old fillies, six furlongs, $150,000, Wednesday, July 27, approx. post 5:20 p.m EDT
PP - Horse - Jockey - M/L
1 - Folklore - Cornelio Velasquez - 4-1
2 - Adieu - John Velazquez - 2-1
3 - Unbridled Tale - Gary Stevens - 8-1
4- Truart - Javier Castellano - 15-1
5 - Fifth Avenue - Pablo Fragoso - 4-1
6 - Cajun Mistress - Edgar Prado - 7-2
7 - Little Miss Zip - Norberto Arroyo Jr. - 7-2
8 - My Lucky Free - Rafael Bejarano - 10-1