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2023 Glens Falls Stakes Preview | War Like Goddess Goes For 3rd Straight Race Win At Saratoga
War Like Goddess (NYRA)

2023 Glens Falls Stakes Preview | War Like Goddess Goes For 3rd Straight Race Win At Saratoga

George Krikorian’s dual Grade 1-winning multimillionaire War Like Goddess will strive for a threepeat in Thursday’s 28th running of the Grade 2, $250,000 Glens Falls for older fillies and mares going 1 1/2 miles over the inner turf, at Saratoga Race Course.

The Glens Falls is carded as Race 9 on Thursday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

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A triumph in this year’s Glens Falls would put War Like Goddess in the company of horses that have captured as many as three straight editions of a Saratoga stakes race, including Exterminator, who won four straight runnings of the Saratoga Cup in 1919-22; three-time Whitney winner Discovery [1934-36]; and New York-bred Irish Linnet, who won four straight Yaddos from 1992-95. 

The 6-year-old English Channel mare is no stranger to winning a stakes three times in a row, having captured her third straight win in the 12-furlong Grade 3 Bewitch 12 furlongs in April at Keeneland.

Trained by Hall of Famer and seven-time Glens Falls winning trainer Bill Mott, War Like Goddess boasts a highly consistent 15-10-1-2 record as well as field-high earnings of $2,170,184. Her 4-year-old season included her Bewitch and Glens Falls coups as well as victories in the Grade 3 Orchid at Gulfstream Park and Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Saratoga before finishing a close third as the favorite in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Del Mar.

War Like Goddess made a triumphant return to action during her 5-year-old year in the Bewitch and Glens Falls before finishing second to returning rival Virginia Joy in last year’s Flower Bowl. She bested males in the next-out Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational in October at Belmont at the Big A, registering a career-high 105 Beyer Speed Figure en route to a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

War Like Goddess enters from an uncharacteristic sixth in the Grade 1 New York on June 9 going 10 furlongs at Belmont Park, where she tracked about eight lengths behind a moderate pace set by gate-to-wire winner Marketsegmentation.

She breezed a half-mile in 48.48 seconds over the Oklahoma training track on Saturday.

“She seemed to go very well, the breeze was very good,” Mott said. “We’re coming off a race that wasn’t her best. It was a mile and a quarter, which is a little short for her and there wasn’t a lot of pace. I went in knowing it wasn’t her favorite distance, but it’s the only Grade 1 for fillies on the grass going that distance, so we gave it a try. It didn’t work out, but she’s doing really well.”

Mott said War Like Goddess thrives at the Spa.

“We can turn her out here, train her late and we have a lot of flexibility up here, which she likes,” Mott said. “She likes being out. She gets out in the round pen which is a good thing.”

War Like Goddess will leave from post 1 under Joel Rosario.

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Trainer Graham Motion will seek his fourth Glens Falls triumph when saddling graded stakes winner Sopran Basilea [post 5, Manny Franco] and multiple graded stakes placed Vergara [post 7, John Velazquez].

Madaket Stables and William Strauss’ Sopran Basilea will make her third stateside start for Motion following a productive career in Italy under the care of her previous conditioner Gallopa Grizetti, for whom she won a pair of group stakes going 1 1/4 miles in 2021. She made her debut for Motion when a late-closing second in a strong edition of the Grade 3 Gallorette in May at Pimlico Race Course, a race that saw its winner Whitebeam capture the Spa’s Grade 1 Diana next out.

Sopran Basilea, a 5-year-old Night of Thunder chestnut, enters from a narrow triumph over returning rival Ever Summer in the Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial on July 1 at Delaware Park.

“She’s doing really well and I’m very happy with her,” said Motion, who saddled previous Glens Falls victresses Humaita [2004], Rosinka [2007] and Mrs. Sippy [2019]. “She’s been a little bit of a surprise for me – I was surprised just how well she ran in the Gallorette going a shorter distance and I was surprised and impressed with her performance the other day at Delaware going a distance that she obviously prefers. I think this is the logical step for her. Usually, the Robert Dick fits in with running the Glens Falls and is a natural progression.”

Gary Broad’s Vergara will see added ground, entering from a close third beaten a neck in the Grade 3 Eatontown on June 17 at Monmouth Park. The 4-year-old Noble Mission bay set an easy early tempo and held command in upper stretch before giving way inside the final sixteenth to one-two finishers Consumer Spending and Surprisingly.

Fifth in the Gallorette in her 2023 debut, Vergara seeks her first win since capturing last year’s Dueling Grounds Oaks at Kentucky Downs going 1 5/16 miles. 

“She’s a lovely filly who has improved, and I think going the longer distances is going to help her,” Motion said.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown also unleashes a two-pronged attack with Grade 1-winning millionaire McKulick [post 4, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and last year’s Glens Falls third-place finisher Virginia Joy [post 2, Flavien Prat].

Klaravich Stables’ McKulick will stretch out following a third-place finish to stablemate and fellow Klaravich color-bearer Marketsegmentation in the New York. This effort came following her lone off-the-board placing in her 2023 debut when fifth in the Grade 3 Modesty going nine furlongs at Churchill Downs.

The 4-year-old Frankel bay captured two-thirds of last year’s fillies’ edition of the Turf Triple series, winning the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational over With The Moonlight before finishing second to that rival in the Grade 3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational. She followed with a half-length score in the Grade 3 Jockey Club Oaks Invitational at Belmont at the Big A.

Peter Brant’s German-bred Virginia Joy, a 6-year-old Soldier Hollow bay, will try for her first win since defeating War Like Goddess in last year’s Grade 2 Flower Bowl in September at Saratoga.

Virginia Joy joined Brown’s stable in 2021, following six starts in her native country for trainer Marcel Weiss which included a Group 3 victory and a third in the Group 1 German Oaks. Last year, she captured the Grade 3 The Very One at Gulfstream Park before a 14 1/4-length romp over yielding turf in Belmont’s Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay.

Four-time Glens Falls winning trainer Christophe Clement will saddle Moyglare Stud Farm’s Amazing Grace [post 3, Tyler Gaffalione] who returns to the 12 furlong distance for the first time since capturing her North American debut in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Orchid in April. The German-bred Protectionist chestnut was fourth in her prior two starts, entering from a start against males in the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup on June 9 at Belmont.

Amazing Grace enjoyed a prosperous campaign in her native land while racing for trainer Waldemar Hickst, including a victory in the Group 2 T. von Zastrow Stutenpreis at Baden-Baden before finishing third to next out Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Rebel’s Romance in the Group 1 Preis von Europa at Koln.

Completing the field is Janet Quaintance’s Elegant Taste [post 6, Jackie Davis], who makes her turf and stakes debut off a string off three claiming events. The daughter of Oxbow is trained by Lawrence Smith.