St. Elias Stable's Sweet Loretta kicked off stakes action at Saratoga Race Course with an impressive victory in the $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) for 2-year-old fillies July 22, opening day at the upstate New York track.
The daughter of leading sire Tapit provided trainer Todd Pletcher a sixth win in the six-furlong test after she collared front-runner Made Me Shiver in the stretch and drew clear to stay perfect in two career starts.
After lunging at the start, Sweet Loretta settled in sixth as Inspired Flight set a swift pace of :21.68 and :44.79 through a half mile tracked by Made Me Shiver in second. John Velasquez who brought her four wide into the stretch and she was full of run to chase down Made Me Shiver took charge in early stretch. Sweet Loretta ran her down on the outside and gained control past the eighth pole and coasted to a 4 1/4-length triumph. She finished the distance in 1:10.89 as longshot Fun came up to take second.
"Obviously there's a lot of speed but the track was a little slow," Velazquez said. "But it worked out my way. She did everything well. I talked to Todd in the paddock before the race and he told me she breaks well, (so) give her a chance and let her run down the lane and that's what she did."
Sweet Loretta was bred by Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stable from the Bluegrass Cat mare Ithinkisawapudycat, a half sister to Canadian champion Spring in the Air. She was a $750,000 weanling purchase by Roma Farm via agent J. J. Crupi at the 2014 Keeneland November breeding stock sale. She started her career with a seven-length maiden triumph June 18 at Monmouth Park.
"I told Johnny in the paddock, 'I don't think she's as quick as some of these other fillies, just don't rush her off her feet. Give her a chance to get her legs underneath her.' It actually probably worked in her favor that she didn't break well," Pletcher said. "They went fast early but she ran professionally; she ran into the dirt well. She kept gaining ground in the early part of the race and put herself in a good position coming off the turn."
Sweet Loretta paid $10.80, $5.70, $3.70, Fun returned $16.20 and $7.10, and Harlands Thunder paid $4.80 to show.
Tapit, a resident of Gainesway near Lexington, has 15 black-type stakes winners this year, and 83 overall from nine crops of racing age.