Kaleem Shah leads American Gal and jockey Jose Ortiz into the winner's circle

Kaleem Shah leads American Gal and jockey Jose Ortiz into the winner's circle

Skip Dickstein

American Gal Perfect in Test

Concord Point filly has won two stakes in a row for trainer Simon Callaghan.

Kaleem Shah's homebred American Gal landed the grade 1 victory she's been chasing when she drew off by four lengths in the $500,000 Test Stakes (G1) Aug. 5 at Saratoga Race Course

Video: Longines Test S. (G1)

The 3-year-old Concord Point filly picked up her second consecutive graded stakes score since she was moved to the barn of trainer Simon Callaghan. She entered the seven-furlong test off a 4 3/4-length score in her season debut, the July 9 Victory Ride Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, which she won after undergoing minor surgery to remove an ankle chip.

"We knew she was sitting on a big performance," Callaghan said of the 2-1 second choice. "She came into this race so good after her last race, and for once the race went perfectly to plan. She got a great trip and she dominated today."

American Gal stalked the pace closely in a field of 10 3-year-old fillies, as Chalon showed the way through opening fractions of :22.42 and :44.53. Jockey Jose Ortiz set the bay filly down for the drive four-wide coming off the turn in a cavalry charge for home, and she put away her rivals in the final sixteenth.  

"She finished very well. I just wanted to get a clean break and I got it," said Ortiz. "She was impressive for me today."

The final time was 1:22.26. Fellow West Coast shipper and narrow 2-1 choice Faypien finished second, followed by Tequilita, Chalon, Vertical Oak, Your Love, Divine Miss Grey, Chanel's Legacy, Minnie Blip, and Cursor.  

Rafael Bejarano was aboard Bob Baffert-trained Faypien, who saw a three-race win streak snapped in her first start outside of California.  

"The trip was good," Bejarano said. "I had a good, clean break from the gate. I was really comfortable with the break. The winner today was much the best. (Faypien) tried every step in the race. She gave everything." 

American Gal was bred in Kentucky out of the Ghostzapper mare American Story. She improved her record to 4-1-1 from six starts, with earnings of $707,700. Trained by Bob Baffert in 2016, she broke her maiden, won the Anoakia Stakes, finished third as the favorite in the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), and ran second behind eventual Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Abel Tasman in the Starlet Stakes (G1) in December to close out her 2-year-old campaign.

"We'll take her back to California and think about the Breeders' Cup and which way to go about it," Callaghan said. "I have to think seven-eighths is such a good distance for her. At a mile, she's still going to be very good, but at the back of my mind seven-eighths is where she's going to be spectacular."

"Better late than never," Shah joked. "I thought she would win the Breeders' Cup last year, but I'm delighted to get a grade 1 with her."