Dennis Narlinger’s I Promise may have been narrowly defeated in the July 25 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) at Saratoga, but trainer Gary Contessa believes that nose loss to Subtle Aly proved she belongs in classy company. If the Hook and Ladder filly can repeat that performance, she will be tough to beat in the Aug. 15 Adirondack Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs.
“You got to love her heart,” Contessa said. “That filly has a heart as big as her body. She weighs about 700 pounds and probably about 680 of it is her heart. You got to love them when the come back like that.”
The Adirondack has attracted nine entrants, and they have combined for 11 wins from 16 starts, with none finishing out of the money. I Promise is the only filly in the field to have raced in a graded stakes or to have run at Saratoga, and Contessa is pleased with her progress since her gritty Schuylerville effort.
“She had a nice, easy maintenance work on the training track in 1:02, which was encouraging,” Contessa said. “I’m real happy the way she is coming into the race. I have high expectations.”
Before the Schuylerville, I Promise broke her maiden by an impressive seven lengths at Belmont Park June 28. Jockey Joe Bravo will take the mount in the Adirondack.
Another filly to watch is Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Phantom Income, who is trained by Richard Violette Jr. The daughter of Montbrook romped to victory by 10 1/2 lengths in her career debut July 6 at Belmont Park.
“She was a little more impressive than we thought she’d be,” Violette said. “We knew she could run, but to do what she did was very, very impressive, and she has continued to train well. She wants to be a race horse, and she has the talent.”
More Happy, a $1-million 2-year-old purchase, will come into the Adirondack off a neck victory in her career debut July 21 at Del Mar. Owned by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds and John Sikura and trained by Bob Baffert, the daughter of Vindication is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. She has seemed to take well to Saratoga, as she fired a bullet workout Aug. 9, going five furlongs in :59.17, the best of 48 breezes at the distance that day.
Trainer Steve Asmussen will send out Sky Mom, who is the most experienced horse in the field with two wins and two seconds in four starts. The daughter of Maria’s Mon most recently finished second in the My Dear Stakes July 2 at Woodbine.
Also in the mix is the Todd Pletcher trainee Passion, who will enter the Adirondack off a 7 1/2-length maiden victory at Arlington Park, and Yonagucci, winner of the July 7 J J'sdream Stakes at Calder Race Course.
Rounding out the field are other maiden victors A to the Croft, Bsharpsonata, and Honest to Betsy.
Adirondack Stakes (gr. II), $150,000, Aug. 15, 2-year-old fillies, 6 1/2 furlongs, approx. post 4:47 p.m. EST
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, ML Odds
1. A to the Croft, 118, Kent J. Desormeaux, 15-1
2. Passion, 118, John Velazquez, 6-1
3. I Promise, 118, Joe Bravo, 9-2
4. Sky Mom, 120, Shaun Bridgmohan, 5-1
5. Honest to Betsy, 118, Cornelio H. Velasquez, 15-1
6. More Happy, 118, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1
7. Yonagucci, 122, Jeffrey Sanchez, 15-1
8. Phantom Income, Eibar Coa, 118, 4-1
9. Bsharpsonata, Oliver Castillo, 118, 20-1