Richlyn Farm's upset Prioress Stakes (gr. I) winner Lighthouse Bay, several runners left in her wake, the streaking Monmouth-based Ju Ju Eyeballs, and TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) runner-up My Happy Face all converge Aug. 24 in a loaded edition of the $500,000 Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.
A seven-furlong sprint on the Travers (gr. I) undercard, the Test drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies headed by 122-pound highweight Lighthouse Bay, a Speightstown filly who last time out gave trainer George Weaver his first North American grade I win. Regular rider Joe Rocco Jr. gets the mount from the 6 hole.
Lighthouse Bay came into the July 27 Prioress off an easy score in the June 8 Jostle Stakes at Parx Racing to claim her first graded victory at odds of 21-1. In the Prioress, she rallied up the rail to beat Wildcat Lily by half a length.
That contender, a Florida-bred daughter of D'wildcat carrying 118 and Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez from the far outside, also returns in this spot after just missing a wire-to-wire score. The Rontos Racing Corp. runner won the July 6 Azalea Stakes (gr. III) at Calder Casino & Race Course off a victory in the Florida oval's Leave Me Alone Stakes, and shipped north for the first time to run credibly in the Prioress for trainer Manny Azpurua.
Fourth in the Prioress was the Maggi Moss filly So Many Ways, a daughter of Sightseeing who found great success at Saratoga last season. So Many Ways won the Schuylerville (gr. III) and the Spinaway (gr. I) to wrap up her juvenile campaign undefeated in three starts. She came back to the winner's circle in May with a victory in the Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs after being transferred from Tony Dutrow to Tom Amoss, but has been unsuccessful twice out since then, with a third in the Iowa Oaks (gr. III) and the Prioress fourth to her record. Rosie Napravnik gets the mount as part of a 120-pound impost from the 3 hole.
My Happy Face is another who ran off the screen at Saratoga, breaking her maiden by a dazzling 21 1/4 lengths for owner Michael Dubb when conditioned by Rudy Rodriguez. Now trained by Chad Brown, the Tiz Wonderful filly has only managed to win the Lotka overnight stakes going a mile on the dirt at Belmont Park this year. That was just her third start of 2013; she ran second to Kauai Katie in the Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park after closing out 2012 with a victory in the Tempted (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack. After breaking her maiden at Saratoga so impressively last year, she ran an extremely tough second to Dreaming of Julia by a head in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont.
Victory Ride Stakes (gr. III) winner Baby J comes back from that June 29 win at Belmont to make her first start since for trainer Patrick Reynolds and owner Paul Pompa Jr. She is a daughter of J Be K, who sizzled to a 7 1/2-length maiden victory in 2007 at the Spa with a then-track record 1:03.13 for 5 1/2 furlongs on the dirt. Baby J was third in the Schuylerville last season at Saratoga. The Victory Ride was her first graded stakes score; she'll have Javier Castellano in the irons from post 2.
Ju Ju Eyeballs, a Maryland-bred Gators N Bears filly trained by Jason Servis for Mr. Amore Stable, has won five straight including her past three at Monmouth Park, capped by a 5 1/4-length victory in the July 21 Just Smashing Stakes at six furlongs last time out. Of six total career wins, three have come on the turf, three on the dirt, but she has always easily outdistanced her competition en route to her dirt scores. She steps up into graded company and runs at Saratoga for the first time with Javier Castellano aboard from the 2 hole.
Donarra Thoroughbreds' allowance winner Irish Lute, a Midnight Lute filly who was third in the Prioress last time out for trainer Dallas Stewart, completes the field along with Cash is King's Miss Preakness Stakes victress I'm Mom's Favorite and Southern California invader Sweet Lulu.
I'm Mom's Favorite, trained by Tony Dutrow, ran fifth in the Victory Ride last out. Lightly raced Sweet Lulu, a Mr. Greeley filly conditioned by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer for owner Steve Beneto, is undefeated in three starts and takes the jump from a 4 3/4-length allowance score on the all weather track at Del Mar to grade I company in her first attempt at stakes conditions.
$500,000 Test Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, approximate post 4:05 p.m. EDT), 3YO fillies, seven furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Irish Lute (FL), R. Albarado, 116, D Stewart
2. Baby J (KY), J. Castellano, 118, P L Reynolds
3. So Many Ways (PA), R. Napravnik, 120, T M Amoss
4. I'm Mom's Favorite (KY), C.H. Velasquez, 116, A W Dutrow
5. Sweet Lulu (KY), J.R. Leparoux, 116, J Hollendorfer
6. Lighthouse Bay (KY), J. Rocco, Jr., 122, G Weaver
7. Ju Ju Eyeballs (MD), I. Ortiz, Jr., 116, J Servis
8. My Happy Face (KY), J. Rosario, 118, C C Brown
9. Wildcat Lily (FL), J.R. Velazquez, 118, M J Azpurua