Unbeaten Saintliness Wins Affectionately

Stronach Stables' lightly raced Saintliness kept her record spotless Saturday at Aqueduct, getting the jump on six rivals and winning the $81,275 Affectionately Handicap for fillies and mares by three-quarters of a length over Miss Fortunate.

It was her fourth win in as many tries on Aqueduct's inner dirt track. Her other career victory came on the Big A's main track.

Ridden by jockey Richard Migliore, who is now seven wins away from 4,000 lifetime victories, Saintliness was sent from the rail to take advantage of the current track bias. She set a comfortable pace of :23 4/5; :48 4/5; 1:13 4/5 and 1:38 2/5, but Migliore had to get into her late as Miss Fortunate came with a final challenge.

She had enough left to post the victory for the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44 4/5.

A daughter of Holy Bull, the gray 5-year-old mare has now created several options for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who may consider sending her to Florida.

"She's a very nice filly," McLaughlin said. "She's fun and easy to train. The Stronachs are fabulous people to train for. They always let their trainers take their time with every horse. It's nice that you're never in a hurry."

Migliore was grateful to be back aboard Saintliness, who returned $4.50, $2.90 and $2.70 as the favorite. Injury caused the jockey to miss her Dec. 9 victory, which was her first start since March.

Miss Fortunate ($3.60 and $2.90), who carried 118 pounds and spotted the winner three pounds, closed gamely late but ran out of room. She was far ahead of Mariakel ($3.60) in third, who was followed by Bounding Charm, Richetta and Board Elligible.

Our Rite of Spring was scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)