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Wakanaka has hooked some of the toughest turf horses in North America — including competing at various distances and racing against the boys — and could be the one to beat in the $1 million AGS Ladies Turf Sprint’s field of nine.
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Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 5-year-old Irish-bred Wakanaka comes into the Grade 2, 6 1/2-furlong Ladies Turf Sprint off a second-place effort in Saratoga’s Grade 3 Caress at 5 1/2 furlongs. Before that, she was third in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Just A Game at a mile.
A multiple stakes-winner in Italy before coming to the United States last year, Wakanaka won Woodbine’s Grade 2 Dance Smartly last year as well as the $350,000 Fall Harvest Stakes on Breeders’ Cup weekend at Keeneland.
Bridlewood Farm’s Bay Storm is back a year after she lost the Ladies Turf Sprint by a nose to the highly accomplished Campanelle. The 5-year-old Bay Storm earned a free berth in the Ladies Turf Sprint by virtue of winning the $200,000 prep at Ellis Park.
Trainer Mark Casse as a strong contender in Our Flash Drive, a multiple graded-stakes winner on turf and synthetic at Woodband winner of Saratoga’s De La Rose Stakes last year.
Other contenders: multiple stakes-winner Train to Artemus; California invaders Unbridled Mary and Tony Ann; Saratoga allowance winner Gal in a Rush; and Quaria Comet, a Kentucky Downs maiden-winner last year who was second by a neck in the Ellis Park prep for the Ladies Sprint.
1 Fast and Feminine (121) Randy Snipes/T.C. Stevens
2 Quaria Comet (121) Paulo Lobo/Joe Talamo
3 Wakanaka (121) Bill Mott/Joel Rosario
4 Train to Artemus (123) Gerardo Corrales/Kelly Breen
5 Tony Ann (121) Phil D’Amato/Tyler Gaffalione
6 Bay Storm (123) Jonathan Thomas/Florent Geroux
7 Our Flash Drive (125) Mark Casse/John Velazquez
8 Unbridled Mary (123) John Sadler/Vincent Cheminaud
9 Gal in a Rush (121) Christophe Clement/Irad Ortiz
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