Wavell Avenue wins Shine Again Stakes at Saratoga

Wavell Avenue wins Shine Again Stakes at Saratoga

Skip Dickstein

Ballerina Stakes Has Stage Full of Talent

The seven-furlong stakes Aug. 27 at Saratoga attracted a field of 10.

The Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 27 at Saratoga Race Course drew 10 fillies and mares to go seven furlongs for $500,000, and without a standout in the cast, handicapping the race figures to be as demanding as the final furlong.

The Ballerina goes as race seven with a post time of 2:59 EDT on a 13-race program with six grade I stakes. A pair that drew outside figure to garner the most attention: Wavell Avenue in post 8 and the 3-year-old filly Carina Mia in post 9.

Wavell Avenue, by Harlington, will be making her fifth start of the year and fifth start at the trip in the Ballerina. Last year's season ended with her running down female sprint champion La Verdad in the TwinSpires.com Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I). The 5-year-old also is a two-time winner on the Saratoga surface including a last-to-first score Aug. 3 in the Shine Again Stakes.

Shine Again is the only two-time Ballerina winner (2001-02).

Carina Mia was the lights-out winner of Churchill Downs' seven-furlong Eight Belles Stakes (gr. III) and Belmont Park's one-turn-mile Acorn Stakes (gr. I) before running into unbeaten champion Songbird in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I). The cut back from nine furlongs should be right in the Malibu Moon  filly's wheelhouse.

On the rail is Forum Racing's Birdatthewire, a two-time graded winner at seven furlongs. At 3 in 2015 she started the year with a win in Gulfstream Park's Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) and finished with a score in the La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.

The 4-year-old campaign for the daughter of Summer BIrd has not been as successful. In three successive tries at seven furlongs, she mustered a third-place finish in Princess Rooney Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream. In her defense, she has run against the best sprinting fillies in training—but faces most of them here.

The rail through Aug. 23 at Saratoga has produced 12 winners from 114 one-turn dirt races, an 11% strike rate. Post 4, with 17% winners, seems the most productive, as does post 10 with 21% winners.

Post 10 in the Ballerina will be occupied by Gary Barber and Sequel Racing's Haveyougoneaway, an off-the-pace winner of the July 27 Honorable Miss Stakes (gr. II). The New York-bred easily dispatched her own kind July 3 in the Dancin Renee Stakes at Belmont.

The Ballerina will be the Congrats  filly's first venture at seven furlongs, but she does have Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez named to ride. Velazquez has three wins in the Ballerina, including last year's winner Unbridled Forever, and is tied with Pat Day for the most wins in the race.

Other strong contenders include By the Moon, winner of the six-furlong Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III) last time out; sprint-happy Paulassilverlining; grade I-winning Sheer Drama; and Sarah Sis, winner of the June 25 Chicago Handicap (gr. III) at seven furlongs.

Entries: Ballerina S. (G1)

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, August 27, 2016, Race 7

  • Grade I
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $500,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:59 PM (local)
11Birdatthewire (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJunior Alvarado121Dale L. Romans15/1
22By the Moon (KY)Javier Castellano119Michelle Nevin6/1
33Paulassilverlining (KY)Jose L. Ortiz119Michelle Nevin4/1
44Sheer Drama (FL)Joe Bravo124David Fawkes5/1
55Sarah Sis (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux119Ingrid Mason20/1
66Linda Linda (CHI)Jose Lezcano121Ignacio Correas, IV30/1
77Spelling Again (PA)Luis Saez121Brad H. Cox12/1
88Wavell Avenue (ON)Irad Ortiz, Jr.121Chad C. Brown3/1
99Carina Mia (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJoel Rosario120William I. Mott7/2
1010Haveyougoneaway (NY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez121Thomas Morley10/1