Breezing in company over the main track at Saratoga early the morning of Aug. 15, multiple grade I winner Devil May Care had her final serious work for the matchup with West coast-based Blind Luck in the Aug. 21 Betfair TVG Alabama Stakes (gr. I).
On track shortly after 6 a.m., Devil May Care, a bay Malibu Moon filly covered a half-mile in :48.34, the sixth-fastest of 55 at the distance.
“She had an easy breeze last week, and we wanted to do a little more with her today, so we put her in company,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of Devil May Care, winner of three of her five starts this year. “She was full of run throughout.”
Coming off consecutive victories in the July 24 Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Saratoga and the June 26 Mother Goose (gr. I) at Belmont Park, Devil May Care will be facing her toughest competition since the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) in Blind Luck, who has amassed more than $1.5 million with a record of 8-2-2 from 12 starts that includes four grade 1 wins.
It’s a challenge Pletcher is keenly anticipating.
“We’re looking forward to the matchup,” said the trainer in a release. “It’s not a two-horse race, but you are putting the two most accomplished fillies on the racetrack and ultimately that’s what everyone wants to see--the two best meeting each other. There’s no better barometer than a head-to-head matchup.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Blind Luck,” added the trainer. “She’s got that extra something special you like to see in a racehorse – that desire to win. She keeps finding a way to get there.”
Pletcher said Devil May Care emerged from her victory in the Coaching Club very well, and said he is pleased with the way she is maturing as she moves toward the 1 1/4-mile Alabama, where he feels strategy will be a key factor.
“I do feel she is getting more professional and she’s learning to polish her races off a little bit,” he said. “She’s had that tendency to make the lead and wait. That’s why you have to be careful in a situation like (the Alabama) where you have a horse like Blind Luck that’s relentless and keeps coming. You can’t make mistakes; you can’t get there and idle and let them catch you by surprise.”
In other Saratoga news, Jim Dandy (gr. II) winner A Little Warm (1:03.06), Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Super Saver (1:02.56), Preakness Stakes (gr. I) runner-up First Dude (1:01.40 at Churchill Downs), and Jim Dandy third-place finisher Afleet Express (1:01.00 over the Oklahoma training track) all emerged from their five-furlong works for the Aug. 28 Travers (gr. I) in good order, according to their connections.
“He came out of it well,” said A Little Warm’s trainer Tony Dutrow, in a statement. It was a sentiment that was precisely echoed by Todd Pletcher (Super Saver), Dale Romans (First Dude) and Jimmy Jerkens (Afleet Express).
Romans, who traveled to Kentucky for First Dude’s work, added that while he would return to Saratoga Aug. 17, travel plans for First Dude have not yet been finalized for the 1 1/4-mile race.
Other horses that worked the weekend of Aug. 13-15 include Bed o’Roses (gr. III) winner Rightly So, who went a half-mile in :48.56 in preparation for the Ballerina (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Travers Day; Amsterdam (gr. II) winner Discreetly Mine , who worked a half-mile in :51.88 for the King’s Bishop (gr. I) on Travers Day; Ruffian (gr. I) winner Malibu Prayer, who breezed a half-mile in :48.44; Convocation, winner of an optional claimer at Saratoga Aug. 4, who went a half-mile in :48.40 for the Sept. 4 Woodward (gr. I); and multiple graded stakes winner Life At Ten, who owns a six-race win streak, and breezed five furlongs in 1:01.98 for her highly anticipated matchup with reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign (gr. I) Aug. 29.