C C's Pal, who has won or placed in 22 of 30 starts for owner Eric Fein and trainer Rick Dutrow, tops the eight-horse field of older fillies and mares entered in the Aug. 3 Honorable Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Race Course.
The 120-pound highweight, C C’s Pal breaks from 3 post under Junior Alvarado, who has been aboard the 5-year-old Alex's Pal mare for seven of her last eight starts, including victories in three stakes. The Florida-bred miss began the season where she left off her 2011 campaign, with a victory in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack Jan. 1. She subsequently ran third, by a neck, in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park and was second to multiple grade I winner It’s Tricky in the Distaff Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct.
Following another close second in the My Juliet Stakes at Parx Racing, C C’s Pal then scored a hard-fought victory over Nicole H in the Vagrancy Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. The mare is coming into the Honorable Miss off a third-place finish in the Bed o’ Roses Handicap (gr. III).
Weighted at 119 and breaking from the 4 hole is Winning Image, a three-time stakes winner this year who has won or placed in 11 of her 16 total starts. Trained by Michael Aro, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Southern Image, won back-to-back stakes at Parx before giving up the lead in the stretch to finish third in the Sweet ‘n Sassy Stakes.
Island Bound, a former claimer who earned her first graded stakes victory on June 2 when she rallied from seventh to win the Winning Colors (gr. III) at Churchill Downs, has drawn the inside post under Julian Leparoux for trainer Ian Wilkes.
“She’s really turned the corner this year,” Wilkes said of the Speightstown mare. “Last year we were running her for a $30,000 tag. All of a sudden, this year she got good. She’s doing well up here, as well.”
After a race at Monmouth Park did not fill last weekend, trainer Todd Pletcher called an audible and sent Maple Forest to the Honorable Miss. A 4-year-old Forestry filly who is coming into the race off consecutive victories in stakes company at Monmouth, Maple Forest will have the services of Joe Bravo from the outside post position.
$200,000 Honorable Miss Handicap (Race 9, 5:30 p.m. EDT), 3YO & Up, 6 Furlongs (Dirt)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Island Bound (KY), J R Leparoux, 117, I R Wilkes
2. Belle of the Hall (FL), I Ortiz, 115, T Albertrani
3. C C’s Pal (FL), J Alvarado, 120, R E Dutrow Jr.
4. Winning Image (KY), J C Carballo, 119, M C Aro
5. Beat the Blues (FL), R Napravnik, 116, W B Calhoun
6. Roman Treasure (KY), R A Dominguez, 117, M E Hushion
7. It’s Me Mom (FL), W Martinez, 116, L M Scace
8. Maple Forest (KY), J Bravo, 117, T A Pletcher