A Little Bit Sassy, winner of the Edgewood Stakes but disqualified from victory in the Regret (gr. IIIT) last time out, returns in the $200,000 Lake George Stakes (gr. IIT) as the second week of racing begins at Saratoga Race Course July 23.
Ramona Bass' A Little Bit Sassy breaks from the far outside in a field of seven sophomore fillies in the 1 1/16 mile turf event. Her major rivals appear to be Daring Dancer, a grade III winner, and Daring Kathy, bringing a three-race win streak into her graded stakes debut.
Michael Matz trains the dark bay daughter of More Than Ready out of the multiple stakes-winning mare Miss A Bomb, by Lemon Drop Kid. Matz has tabbed Luis Saez once again to ride A Little Bit Sassy, who carries 121 pounds as the 5-2 morning line choice.
A Little Bit Sassy has won two of her past five starts and been second twice. In her most recent start at Churchill Downs in the 1 1/8-mile Regret June 14, she took control in the stretch as the 5-2 favorite. But she was disqualified and placed fourth after veering out in deep stretch while fending off Aurelia's Belle by a head.
"(Saez) had the whip in his right hand and then he hit her left-handed and she came out (into another runner)," said Matz of the stretch drive from which A Little Bit Sassy was disqualified. "He should have just stayed with the right hand."
Prior to that, an eager A Little Bit Sassy dueled for control in Churchill's listed Edgewood Stakes May 2 before driving clear by 1 1/4 lengths.
"I'm pleased with the way she's trained," Matz said. "Whether she's good enough we'll have to see."
Maryland-bred Daring Dancer, the 123-pound highweight, lost for the first time in four starts when fifth in the Wonder Again Stakes as the odds-on pick May 25 on the Belmont Park inner turf. Sagamore Farm's Empire Maker filly overcame problems to easily win the Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Keeneland lawn in her stakes debut April 17 for trainer Graham Motion. Alan Garcia has the call on the 3-1 second choice from post 2.
Speedy Daring Kathy, who drew the rail, has back-to-back scores in minor stakes at Gulfstream Park this spring including a front-running 5 1/2-length tally June 15 at 1-5 odds. Owned by Steve Laymon and John Eaton, the Wildcat Heir filly is 2-for-2 at the Lake George distance and has won four of five starts overall. Trainer David Fawkes tabs John Velazquez to ride Daring Kathy, pegged at 6-1, for the first time.
"I like her a lot in there; she's the lone speed," Fawkes said. "I drew the one post. Johnny is riding. He's good, right?"
Sweet Acclaim (4-1), who began her career in Great Britain, has three placings from as many tries in the United States, including a second to Daring Dancer in the Appalachian. Chad Brown trains the daughter of Acclamation for Swift Thoroughbreds and Bradley Thoroughbreds.
Brown also enters French-bred Little Journey (5-1), third in the American Oaks (gr. IT) May 31 in her second United States start. A two-time winner from seven tries in her native country, the Great Journey miss debuted in the U.S. with a third-place finish behind A Little Bit Sassy in the Edgewood.
Speed Seeker (8-1) steps up off a front-running maiden score by 7 3/4 lengths in her debut June 14 going one mile on the Woodbine turf. Allowance winner Duff One (20-1) returns off a layoff for Gary Contessa.
Saratoga Race Course , Wednesday, July 23, 2014, Race 9
- 1 1/16m
- Inner turf
- 3 yo Fillies
- 4:42 PM (local)
|1||Daring Kathy (FL)||John R. Velazquez||121||David Fawkes|
|2||Daring Dancer (MD)||Alan Garcia||123||H. Graham Motion|
|3||Duff One (KY)||Jose L. Ortiz||115||Gary C. Contessa|
|4||Sweet Acclaim (IRE)||Javier Castellano||115||Chad C. Brown|
|5||Speed Seeker (FL)||Julien R. Leparoux||115||Joan Scott|
|6||Little Journey (FR)||Joe Bravo||115||Chad C. Brown|
|7||A Little Bit Sassy (KY)||Luis Saez||121||Michael R. Matz|