Two-year-old Freedom's Daughter won the first stakes at Saratoga this season with a 1 1/4-length victory in Wednesday's Schuylerville Stakes. The six-furlong race was only the second start for the filly, who broke her maiden by 7 3/4 lengths in her last start.
Two entrants to the Schuylerville scratched, Stellar and Vibs, possibly due to track's muddy status, but by the time the race went off at 5:20 the condition was listed as fast.
Freedom's Daughter and stakes winner Mike's Wildcat were the 2-1 co-favorites at the bell. The two fillies got the jump on the field from the break as they opened up about six lengths on their rivals within a furlong of the start. Miss Mary Apples followed, with 3 1/2 lengths between her and the rest of the field on the backstretch.
Freedom's Daughter and jockey John Velazquez covered the first quarter-mile in :21.78, followed closely by Mike's Wildcat and Jose Santos. On the turn Freedom's Daughter accelerated to take a short lead as Mike's Wildcat faded to fourth. In the middle of the track Miss Mary Apples was moving, and by the eighth pole, she had gained the second spot behind Freedom's Daughter who had covered a half-mile in :45 2.59. Miss Mary Apples had a shot at the winner, but couldn't get enough speed to catch her. Mymich (off at 6-1) came up for third, four lengths behind Miss Mary Apples. The final time for the six furlongs was 1:12.14. The 1-8-2 trifecta paid $98.50. The winner paid $6.90, $3.50, and $3.
Todd Pletcher trains Freedom's Daughter for Satish and Anne Sanan's Padua Stables. John Velazquez was aboard the winner. Padua purchased the filly for $525,000 at last year's Saratoga August yearling sale. She was consigned by Derry Meeting Farm on behalf of her breeder George Strawbridge.
Pletcher, who raced Freedom's Daughter on the anti-bleeding medication Lasix for the first time in the Schuylerville, now has a filly unbeaten in two starts.
"I was concerned because the track really hasn't been speed -conducive all day," Pletcher said. "It seemed like a lot of horses were getting to the eighth-pole and getting pretty `drunk.' I felt better when they harrowed the track before Puzzlement's race
(seventh race). My main concern was that from the rail, we didn't have many options. Once we put the favorite away, I was concerned about whoever else might be coming. If she wasn't on the rail, we might have let her come away from there a little easier. I don't know what we'll do with her next. She had a lot of time from her first start to this race."
Trainer John Ward said Mike's Wildcat will be scoped to see if she has some sort of infection.
"I'm going to scope the filly," Ward said. "Jose (Santos, jockey) told me she stopped breathing after a half-mile. I don't think the fractions had anything to do it. I suspect that when we scope her, we might find something like a lung infection."
Miss Mary Apples finished second in the Fashion Stakes at Belmont in her last start. She is trained by Mark Hubley for Katierich Stables and Christopher Connors.