Brazen Persuasion (right) and Bahnah cannot be separated at the finish of the Schuylerville.
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Brazen Persuasion (right) and Bahnah cannot be separated at the finish of the Schuylerville.
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Coglianese Photos

Fillies Fight to Draw in Schuylerville

Dead heat between Brazen Persuasion and Bahnah tops opening day at Saratoga July 19.

The $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) ended in a draw after a tremendous battle down the stretch between pacesetter Brazen Persuasion and favored Bahnah on opening day of the 2013 Saratoga Race Course meet July 19 (VIDEO).

Stewards declared the six-furlong contest for 2-year-old fillies a dead heat after a long review of the photo finish as the 150th Saratoga season got off to a sizzling start.

Brazen Persuasion, ridden on the inside by Rosie Napravnik, led the Stonestreet Stables entry of Yes Liz and Elena Strikes through swift quarter-mile fractions of :21.75 and :44.68 while pressured. The daughter of Indian Charlie withstood the challenge and took a narrow advantage into the homestretch as the stalking Bahnah, ridden by Corey Lanerie, advanced into second and took aim at the leader.

And those two dueled for all they were worth through a thrilling stretch drive. Brazen Persuasion managed to inch clear a little near mid-stretch, but Bahnah showed good courage coming back to whittle the advantage. The fillies were alternating noses on the lead in the final strides, and in the end it was impossible to separate them. On a 96-degree day in Saratoga Springs, the final time was 1:12.12 on a fast track.

"I didn't really like the fact that I was on the inside of the other speed, so they were kind of forcing us to go," Napravnik said of the pace pressure from the entry. "I'll tell you what, this little thing that I hit the wire with (Bahnah), she's about half the size of any of them. They both ran super hard and our filly is really talented. She ran very well.

"I told Corey (on the gallop-out), I said, 'You got this. Definitely you got this.' So, I thought it was him," Napravnik added.

Lanerie wasn't so sure. "Right before the wire, I felt I was edging right to her, but I didn't know if I got the bob or not," he said.

Brazen Persuasion, the 2-1 second choice trained by Steve Asmussen for owners Marilyn and Darren Pollitt, earned her second win in three starts, both victories coming at six furlongs.

Bahnah, the 6-5 favorite in the field of seven for trainer Bret Calhoun and owners Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch, upped her record to 2-for-2 after an impressive six-length winning debut going 4 1/2 furlongs at Churchill Downs June 6.

Brazen Persuasion paid $2.80, $2.30, and $2.30 while part of an exacta worth $8.60 with Bahnah, who returned $2.40, $2.70, and $2.20. Elena Strikes finished a length back in third, paying $2.10 to show, with her Todd Pletcher stablemate Yes Liz fourth. Silver Valley, True Blue Nation and Jonesin for Jerry trailed.

The winning fillies were bred in Kentucky and sold as yearlings at last year's Keeneland September sale.

Bahnah, a  bay filly by Elusive Quality out of the dual grade III-winning Glitterman mare Flying Glitter, was consigned by her breeders Aaron and Marie Jones and sold for $62,000 with Taylor Made Sales Agency acting as agent. She is the fourth to win from four foals to race produced by her dam, and the first stakes winner.

Brazen Persuasion, a dark bay or brown filly out of the winning Cat Thief mare Beholden, was bred by T.F. VanMeter and Brian Kahn. She was originally sold for $57,000 at Keeneland to Hoby Kight when consigned by VanMeter Sales, and pinhooked at the Ocala Breeders' Sale Company select 2-year-old sale this spring for $210,000. She is the second winner from three starters to date for her dam and first graded stakes winner. She is a half sibling to stakes winner Behold de Buy.

"She's a good-sized filly. (Bloodstock agent) David Ingordo bought her at OBS March, and I can't say enough of what a dream she has been to work with since the day she came into the barn," Asmussen said of Brazen Persuasion.

"She broke sharp, was away real cleanly. The entry tackled her immediately. Coming into the stretch, I thought she got a little separation, and then you saw the other filly coming, but they fought really well to the wire," Asmussen said.

"They were opposite on the nods. It was, 'no, yes, no, yes, no, yes.' I did think she got beat on the wire watching the replay, and then when they threw the number up, they go 4-5 in order, you think she won. And then they throw the dead heat, so we'll take all of it."

"It was a heck of a duel," Calhoun agreed. "Steve's horse took a lot of pressure up there. Hat's off to that horse. She ran a game race. I thought at one point when we stepped up to her, I would get on by. Then right there at the wire, I thought we might have got to her. When I saw the replay over and over, I thought it was a heater.

"This was obviously a big step for her going from 4 1/2 furlongs to six furlongs, but she stepped up and proved it today. She's always been a mentally mature filly, and she continues to progress both mentally and physically."

The two fillies could meet again at Saratoga in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 1.