Stylish, with leading jockey John Velazquez riding, won her third straight with a surprising burst in the home stretch of the $200,000 Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Saratoga Race Course Saturday.
Velazquez teamed with trainer Bill Mott for the Estate of Ahmed bin Salman as Stylish held off late arrival Snow Dance and Richard Migliore for a half-length victory. Cozzy Corner won the photo for third over Love N' Kiss S., one length behind Snow Dance. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile turf test on firm going was 1:41.
Favored Sea of Showers, who was undefeated in three starts in this country for trainer Bobby Frankel, ran last. It also ended a two-race winning streak in this race for Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, who had won four of the previous five Ballston Spa Breeders' Cups.
"She was worked up going to the gate," Bailey said. "She was getting out the whole way. She propped at the three-sixteenths pole. That was enough. She did everything out of character today."
Stylish was coming off a neck victory over something Ventured in the Eatontown Handicap gr. IIIT) at Monmouth July 19. Saturday's race was the 5-year-old Thunder Gulch mare's eighth on eight different grass courses in the past year.
She settled quickly into fourth on the inside as Cozzy Corner carved out moderate fractions of :23 2/5, :47 1/5, 1:11 and 1:35 before Love N' Kiss S. turned up the heat on the final turn. Stylish found room on their outside in the stretch and got an early run on Snow Dance, who was cutting into the lead with every stride before running out of room.
"It went perfectly," Velazquez said. "She settled nicely and when I pulled her out, she was right there. She responded right away."
Stylish won for the eighth time in 23 starts while increasing her career bankroll to more than $575,000. She earned $120,000 for the victory.
"She had a perfect trip," said Mott. "Johnny rode her well. She had the perfect stalking trip. The jock's doing well. He knew when to move. She had a long vacation and she's come back running. She had a trapped epiglottis. Dr. (Steve) Selway did a minor surgery. She's come back and after a couple of races, she's gotten back in gear."
Allen E. Paulson bred the winner, from the Theatrical mare Miss Lenora, in Kentucky.
The 8-1 shot paid $19, $8, and $5.50. Snow Dance returned $5.60 and $4.80. Cozzy Corner's show was $13.20. The $2 exacta was worth $104.