A pair of fast developing 3-year-old filly sprinters, Graeme Six and Featherbed, could vie for favoritism among a wide open field of 13 sophomores entered in the $100,000 Victory Ride (gr. III) at Saratoga Aug. 25.
In her last start, Graeme Six jumped into grade I company from the allowance ranks for trainer Tom Amoss and ran second to Dream Rush at odds of 21-1 in Belmont Park's Prioress July 7. That effort, in which she was beaten by 2 1/4 lengths, looked even better when Dream Rush dominated Saratoga's Darley Test (gr. I) earlier this month.
Mike Luzzi rode the daughter of Graeme Hall for the first time in the Prioress and will be back aboard in the Victory Ride. They were well-positioned in fourth in the six-furlong Prioress before making a four-wide move, finishing gamely while closing on Dream Rush in the final furlong.
Graeme Six tuned up for the Prioress with a second-place finish, beaten by a nose, in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance test at Churchill Downs June 21. She won an allowance at Churchill in May. Although she has won just twice in seven starts, the Florida-bred chestnut filly has four seconds and earnings of $121,020 for owners Tom O'Grady, Johns Martin and Team West Side Stables.
The Todd Pletcher trainee Featherbed went gate to wire as the favorite in the six-furlong Weekend Surprise Stakes at Saratoga on a good track Aug. 6. She defeated Victory Ride rival Allude by a half-length. Featherbed is undefeated in two starts at Saratoga, breaking her maiden by more than nine lengths a year ago.
The chestnut Smart Strike filly has won her last two starts after beginning the season with a third-place finish in an allowance race on a sloppy strip at Churchill May 4. As a 2-year-old, Featherbed was defeated by a head while finishing second to Meadow Breeze in Belmont's Matron (gr. I) last September.
John Velazquez has been aboard Featherbed for all six of her efforts to date and will ride once again. Owned by Bonnie and Sy Baskin, Featherbed has three wins, a second and a third, and earnings of $149,700.
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable's Appealing Zophie, winner of the Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga last September, has turned in three dismal efforts since beginning 2007 with a 4 1/4-length win in the Silverbulletday (gr. III) at Fair Grounds in February. In her last start, the Steve Asmussen filly faded to sixth in the Prioress.
A lifetime winner of $482,428 with three wins from 10 starts, Appealing Zophie drew the rail and carries co-high weight of 123 pounds. She will be ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, who was aboard the Florida-bred daughter of Successful Appeal when she won the Spinaway. They teamed to finish fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill last November.
Also looking to turn around her recent fortunes is Time's Mistress, winner of the Miss Preakness Stakes (gr. III) at Pimlico in May for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. She also carries 123 pounds.
$100,000 Victory Rides Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, 6:15 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 6 Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Appealing Zophie (FL), 123, Shaun Bridgmohan
2. Street Sass (NY), 120, Calvin H. Borel
3. Russian Gypsy (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
4. Graeme Six (FL), 116, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Debbie Got Even (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
6. Allude (KY), 116, Mario G. Pino
7. Time's Mistress (KY), 123, Alan Garcia
8. La Traviata (CA), 120, Julien R. Leparoux
9. Musical Start (KY), 120, Yamil Rosario
10. Featherbed (KY), 120, John R. Velazquez
11. Ticket to Seattle (KY), 120, Ramon A. Dominguez
12. Half Time Crown (KY), 116, Cornelio H. Velasquez
13. Magical Ride (KY), 116, Rafael Bejarano