Charles Fipke’s homebred Perfect Shirl, a maiden when the summer began, notched her third consecutive win and made a successful stakes debut when taking the $150,000 Lake George (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies July 28 at Saratoga.
Shipping in from Canada for trainer Roger Attfield, the daughter of Perfect Soul broke her maiden in her fourth try June 13 on the Woodbine lawn, then won a first-level allowance on the Polytrack July 11. Sent off at 9-1 in a field of 12, Perfect Shirl took advantage of legitimate early fractions to come off the pace in the 1 1/16-mile Lake George.
She raced mid-pack through the backstretch under John Velazquez as longshot Go Ask Alex took the field around in splits of :23.65 and :47.76. Strike It Rich, the 3-1 favorite, raced just off the leader, while 57-1 Exclusive Love, also a Canadian shipper from the barn of Mark Casse, settled into a stalking third.
With Shaun Bridgmohan aboard, Exclusive Love took over rounding the final turn and had a short lead at the eighth pole. Meanwhile, Perfect Shirl was moving into contention from a four-wide path and bearing down on Exclusive Love. She caught her in deep stretch and went on to win by three-quarters of a length.
The final time on the firm turf was 1:41.28. Exclusive Love was a half-length in front of third-place No Explaining, also from the Atffield stable.
“It worked out perfectly," Velazquez said. "She broke well, and was nice and relaxed in the middle of the pack. I committed to holding my position, and then, when I asked her, she responded very well. The only thing the assistant told me was not to be on the lead; very simple instructions!”
Perfect Shirl, now 3-1-1 from six starts, has earned $170,557. She is out of the That’s a Nice mare Lady Shirl, who won the 1991 Flower Bowl Handicap (gr. IT). She is a half sister to two-time grade I winner Shakespeare and multiple graded stakes winner Lady Shakespeare. It was the first graded stakes winner for Perfect Soul.
The winner paid $20.60, $12.20, and $8. The exacta (5-10) returned a sweet $1,012 and the trifecta (5-10-6) was $6,103.