License Fee breezed four furlongs over the turf training course at Saratoga Wednesday in preparation for Monday’s $500,000 Diana Handicap (gr. IIT), in which she will likely face Stronach Stables’ turf distaff star Perfect Sting. An Elliott Walden trainee, License Fee completed her work in :49.25 over firm turf.
License Fee has a two-race winning streak on the line heading into the 1 1/8-mile Diana, and the 5-year-old daughter of Black Tie Affair is three for five on the year, including a half-length defeat at the hands of Perfect Sting in the Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Aqueduct in May. Both wins of her current streak have come on turf labeled yielding, including her 1 1/2-length front-running win over Pico Teneriffe in the Ballston Spa Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) earlier this month at Saratoga.
Meanwhile, Perfect Sting drilled four furlongs over the training turf on Monday, covering the distance in a swift :46.74 while breezing under Jerry Bailey, who will ride her in the Diana. “Jerry (Bailey) had his hands full,” said trainer Joe Orseno. “She couldn’t have worked any better.”
Perfect Sting, a 4-year-old daughter of Red Ransom, is perfect on the year with three wins from three starts, concluding with a head decision over Snow Polina in the New York Handicap (gr. IIT). Snow Polina subsequently defeated Happyanunoit by a length in the Beverly D (gr. IT) at Arlington International. Following the New York Handicap win, Perfect Sting was given a brief layoff.
“We mapped out her campaign in April, so this freshening was by design," Orseno said. "I wanted her to get a little break before her Breeders' Cup campaign starts. Six weeks in between races is no problem for her. I can't wait to watch her run."
Hello Soso, another likely Diana entrant, put in a six-furlong work over a fast main track at Saratoga Wednesday. The 4-year-old Alzao filly, trained by Bobby Frankel, completed the work in 1:15.25, handily. Group III placed in France where she won the Prix des Jouvenceaux et des Jouvencelles as a juvenile, Hello Soso finished third in her most recent start, the Ballston Spa Handicap.
Others expected for the Diana are Pico Teneriffe, Colstar, Reciclada, Fictitious, Melody Queen, and Nordican Inch. The New York Racing Association lists Mumtaz as possible.