(Edited From Track Report)Four fillies and mares share the high weight of 116 pounds in Friday's $100,000-added Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. III) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. The quartet – Edward Evans' Gold Mover, Bohemia Stable's Shine Again, Dallas Stewart's Nasty Storm and Steeplechase Farm's Mandy's Gold – all figure to draw support.Gold Mover is the likely favorite in the field of seven for the Honorable Miss. She ran the best race of her career on July 13, taking advantage of a 12-pound break in the weights from Xtra Heat, who carried 127 pounds. Gold Mover rallied in the final strides to beat the top filly sprinter in the country by a half-length in Calder's Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II).
"That was some kind of race she put in," trainer Mark Hennig said of Gold Mover. "She has been enjoying the cooler air up here and appears to be very sharp. We were able to bring her back quicker than I had expected. Obviously, the Princess Rooney did not take that much out of her."
Since her fourth-place finish in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap (gr. II) at Laurel Park, Gold Mover has been on top of her game. She would be on a four-race wining streak had she not been disqualified and placed second for interfering with Celtic Melody in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on May 4, Kentucky Derby Day.
"She has always been a talented filly," Hennig said. "She won her first four races before Xtra Heat defeated her for the first time. I just think she is really coming into her own. We are probably facing a field that is similar to what we have run against all year and she should race well here."
Gold Mover won her only start at Saratoga. After breaking her maiden in her debut and winning two graded stake races as a 2-year-old, Gold Mover came to Saratoga on opening day in 2000 to win the Schuylerville by a head over Seeking It All. Gold Mover's undefeated four-race winning streak came to an end when Xtra Heat beat her in the Astarita (gr. II) at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old daughter of Gold Fever has accumulated $973,698 in career earnings.
Shine Again returns to Saratoga, where she made an impression by beating the highly regarded Dream Supreme in last year's Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) for Hall of Fame trainer H. Allen Jerkens. It wasn't the only time that has Shine Again defeated Dream Supreme. Two months after the Ballerina, Shine Again had another great effort, winning the First Flight Handicap (gr. II) by a head over Dream Supreme at Belmont.After that race, Jerkens gave Shine Again a 4½-month layoff. In her comeback, the daughter of Wild Again proved to be disappointing, debuting as a 4-year-old in the Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park, where she finished last as the favorite in a field of five. Gold Mover won the race."I don't know what happened to her in the Hurricane Bertie other than she bled a little bit," Jerkens said. "So, I just decided to give her a little more time off and bring her back to New York."When Shine Again came back to New York, she finished a game second to Xtra Heat in the Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II) and third against the same horse in the Vagrancy (gr. II). Since then, Shine Again has won two classified allowance races rather easily."She has been training well," Jerkens said. "Naturally, we would like to see her win here again. Right now, we are going to hope for the best."
Nasty Storm, owned and trained by Dallas Stewart, has yet to win at Saratoga, but has finished no worse than third in her three tries at The Spa. As a 2-year-old, Nasty Storm was third in an allowance race before finishing second to Stormy Pick in the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. Later, she was second in the Alcibiades (gr. II) at Keeneland and in the Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.Last year at Saratoga, Nasty Storm was dwelt at the start of the Test Stakes (gr. 1) and spotted the pacesetters Xtra Heat and Harmony Lodge 18 lengths at the first call. Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day had Nasty Storm make up eight lengths by the half before finishing third, beaten just over six lengths, by Victory Ride.
Stewart then brought the daughter of Gulch back to Kentucky, where she reeled off three consecutive victories, including the Churchill Downs Distaff (gr. II) to conclude her 3-year-old season. Nasty Storm was unable to carry that winning momentum into her 4-year-old debut when she finished fifth to Victory Ride in the Madison at Keeneland."She was coming off a layoff and I was trying to find an allowance race to make her debut," Stewart said. "That race was the only spot I could find for her at that time. I think she hooked up against some tough horses before she was ready."Three races into the season, Nasty Storm eventually found the winner's circle after cruising to a 3-¼-length victory in a classified allowance race at Churchill Downs about a month ago. "She's coming off a good race at Churchill Downs and has put in two good works since then," Stewart said. "She ran well here at Saratoga before and really likes this track. Hopefully, she will get there this time."Throughout her career, 4-year-old Mandy's Gold has raced at various points on the East Coast for trainer Michael Gorham: Delaware Park, Gulfstream Park, Philadelphia Park and Aqueduct. In seven races this year, Mandy's Gold has put together a three-race winning streak, including the Sweet & Sassy Handicap at Delaware Park, where she drew away to win 8-¼ lengths in her last start.Mandy's Gold is more than capable at this level. Last year, Mandy's Gold defeated multiple graded stakes winner Raging Fever at Gulfstream Park. She was also third in the Hurricane Bertie and won the Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park. This will be her first appearance here at Saratoga.Honorable Miss Handicap (gr. III)
PP. HORSE (JOCKEY) WEIGHT
1. Shine Again (Jean-Luc Samyn) 116
2. Gold Mover (Jerry Bailey) 116
3. Steaming Home (Jorge Chavez) 108
4. Trip (Craig Perret) 114
5. Dat You Miz Blue (John Velazquez) 114
6. Mandy's Gold (Edgar Prado) 116
7. Nasty Storm (Pat Day) 116