There were many who questioned whether champion mare Ginger Punch would be able to stretch out to 10 furlongs, something she had never done before. In the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 22 at Saratoga, the 5-year-old daughter of Awesome Again was grateful for the added distance, as she needed every last stride to pass Lemon Drop Mom.
On Aug. 22, Ginger Punch will try something she has never done -- go 10 furlongs for the first time in the $400,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga. She will take on six rivals in the main track event.
Stronach Stables' Ginger Punch, keen on defending her champion older female title of 2007, made it look easy in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps Handicap with a commanding victory in the Belmont Park fixture June 14.
Since her tough luck loss in last year's Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I), all Ginger Punch has done is reel off five grade I or II victories and collect the Eclipse Award for top older female. On June 14 the Awesome Again mare will return to Belmont for some unfinished business as the overwhelming favorite in the $300,000 Ogden Phipps.
Golden Velvet turned the tables on rival Tessa Blue, but only after gutting it out in a neck-and-neck battle with that one in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course.
Separate rivalries will continue - this time combined - when a field of eight older fillies and mares goes postward in the $200,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course April 19.
Making her stakes debut, Stronach Stables' homebred Spring Waltz split rivals at the furlong marker, surged to the lead at the sixteenth-pole, and romped to the wire under Javier Castellano with an impressive 3 1/4-length victory in the $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) March 9 on the Gulfstream Park dirt.
Graded stakes winners Tessa Blue and Golden Velvet will take on impressive allowance winner Spring Waltz in the $200,000 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) March 9 at Gulfstream Park. A field of seven has been entered for the main track event.
Golden Velvet, Darley Stable's candidate for the March 9 Rampart Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park, and the dead-heat co-winner of the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) Jan. 6, was found after that race to have been "sponged," track officials have announced.
Lady Marlboro fought her way through a narrow opening on the inside to gain a dead heat for victory with Golden Velvet in an exciting edition of the $98,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Jan. 6.
The top three finishers from Aqueduct's Nov. 23 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II), led by Edward P. Evans' Mini Sermon, will meet again in the $150,000 Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 6.
A head bob determined the winner of the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr.II) at Aqueduct on Nov. 23 when Mini Sermon prevailed by a nose over pacesetter Lady Marlboro in the one-mile race for fillies and mares.
Pool Land, a winner of seven races from 10 starts, seeks her third graded win in the $150,000 Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct Nov. 23.
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