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VinLaur Racing Stables, West Paces Racing and Rainbow’s End Racing’s promising Cynane will attempt to make a splash in her stateside return in Wednesday’s 19th running of the listed $150,000 P.G. Johnson for 2-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles over the Saratoga Race Course inner turf.
The P.G. Johnson is carded as Race 9 on Wednesday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
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Cynane arrives from a 10th-place finish beaten eight lengths in the Group 2 Queen Mary on June 21 at Royal Ascot, which was won by fellow American invader Crimson Advocate.
The dark bay daughter of leading freshman stallion Omaha Beach glowed in her career debut, besting next-out winner Sam’s Treasure by 2 3/4 lengths in gate-to-wire fashion when traveling five furlongs on May 11 at Belmont Park under Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, who maintains the mount from post 6.
The P.G. Johnson will mark a first two-turn endeavor for Cynane, but trainer Tom Morley said both her pedigree and conformation lead him to believe that the added ground won’t be out of reach.
Named after the ancient princess of Macedon and half-sister to Alexander the Great, Cynane is out of the two-time winning Arch mare Burning Arch, whose half-sister Cat’s Claw captured the Spa’s 12-furlong Waya in 2014. She hails from prominent Phipps-owned bloodlines and comes from the same family as multiple Grade 1-winner on turf Point of Entry as well as Grade 1-winners Pine Island and Pleasant Home.
“She’s tall, she’s leggy and she’s been growing like a weed all year. Her pedigree is full of stamina on the dam side. It’s a proper two-turn American turf pedigree from the Phipps family,” Morley said. “Even after the Ascot race, Javier said, ‘I could not pull her up, the sooner we can go further, the better.’ So, I’m extremely excited to see how she goes.”
Morley spoke of how well Cynane handled her international journey despite having only raced once. During her time in England, she was stabled at the Newmarket yard of English conditioner Charlie Fellowes.
“The Ascot trip was only ever on because she has such a good mind. This filly took the trip better than I did, to be honest. She looked fabulous at Newmarket, she acquitted herself very well on the softened ground,” Morley recalled. “She then had a week off at Newmarket, flew back and spent two weeks at Hidden Brook Farm in Kentucky in a field for some downtime. She came up to Belmont in the middle of July and has not missed a beat. She had four lovely pieces of work; two on the dirt and then her last two have been here on the Oklahoma [turf] and we’re extremely excited about running.”
Morley said giving Cynane extended downtime in Kentucky made the most sense.
“The flight flew back into Kentucky from England, so she was already going to be there and I just wanted to give her some more time off after the flight,” Morely said. “Greg Palesky [of VinLaur Racing Stables] has his mares at Hidden Brook so it made perfect sense for her to go to Hidden Brook for another couple of weeks. She needed to have 10 days of jogging and 10 days of galloping so we did that at Belmont and then she had one breeze there and then shipped straight up here.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms, Cynane was a $250,000 purchase by Oracle Bloodstock at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Thomas Brockley and Daryn A. Brockley’s Brocknardini will step up to open stakes company after defeating New York-breds on debut for trainer George Weaver.
Bred in the Empire State by Thirty Year Farm, the bay daughter of Palace Malice passed the two-turn test when recording a 72 Beyer Speed Figure in her 4 3/4-length victory over the Saratoga inner turf on August 2.
Brocknardini was a $35,000 selection at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. Like Cynane, Brocknardini also hails from influential Phipps broodmare lines, being a direct descendant of undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign and multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire My Flag. Her graded stakes-placed and black type-producing third dam On Parade is a full-sister to 2002 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Storm Flag Flying.
Curent meet leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pilot Brocknardini from post 7.
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown will seek his fifth P.G. Johnson victory when he saddles Wise Racing’s Hard to Justify [post 10, Flavien Prat].
The daughter of 2018 Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year Justify displayed two-turn capabilities in her July 23 Spa debut over the inner turf with a wide sweeping move in upper stretch and finishing a head to the better of fellow late-charger Appellate.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott will saddle two fillies in Gala Brand [post 2, Jose Lezcano] and Magic Cross [post 1, Junior Alvarado].
Owned by Arnmore Thoroughbreds and Even Keel Thoroughbreds, Gala Brand graduated at first asking going 5 1/2 furlongs on August 3 in a restricted maiden event at the Spa. The Violence chestnut made up 14 lengths down the backside and saved ground around the far turn before edging into the clear with dead aim on open lengths pacesetter Lesie’s Loot en route to a 2 1/4-length score.
Gala Brand is out of the German-bred Lord of England mare Olorda, who was a Grade/Group 3 winner in France and the United States.
Magic Cross, a Good Magic filly owned by James Karp, will make her turf debut following a distant fourth in the Grade 3 Adirondack on August 6 at Saratoga.
She was beaten 10 lengths in the 6 1/2-furlong sprint one month following a 7 1/4-length romp going 5 1/2 furlongs on debut at Belmont Park.
Magic Cross is out of the Tiznow mare Be Jeweled, whose third dam Oatsee produced 2012 Preakness winner Shackleford as well as Grade 1-winner Lady Joanne.
Completing the field are:
Miz Sense has been entered for the main track only.
The P.G. Johnson honors the late Hall of Fame trainer, who was best known for campaigning 2002 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Volponi. A native of Chicago, Illinois, Johnson was Saratoga’s leading trainer in 1983 and also trained dual Grade 1-winner Maplejinsky, Grade 1-winning millionaire Kiri’s Clown, and Grade 1-winner Quiet Little Table.
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