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Belmont At Saratoga Picks | Ogden Phipps Stakes 2024
Idiomatic (Casey Laughter)

Belmont At Saratoga Picks | Ogden Phipps Stakes 2024

The heavyweights of the dirt filly and mare division will go Round 2 on Saturday when 2023 Champions Idiomatic and Pretty Mischievous reoppose in the 56th edition of the $500,000 Ogden Phipps presented by Ford. The 2024 edition will be held at Saratoga Race Course for the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

The Ogden Phipps offers a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Del Mar.

The Ogden Phipps is slated as Race 7 on Saturday’s 14-race program headlined by the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets in Race 12. First post is 10:45 a.m. Eastern.

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The first bout between the reigning Eclipse Award Champion Older Dirt Female and 3-Year-Old Filly took place on May 3 at Churchill Downs in the Grade 1 La Troienne, when Juddmonte’s Brad Cox-trained Idiomatic [Florent Geroux, post 5] annexed the 1 1/16-miles test in forward fashion, keeping a clean face in the sloppy, sealed conditions en route to a 3 3/4-length victory.

The 5-year-old daughter of Curlin and 2017 Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks third Lockdown appropriately locked down the top spot in the division on Kentucky Oaks Day in the process, winning her sixth consecutive race, fourth straight Grade 1 and ninth victory from her past 10 efforts. Overall, she is 10-for-13, including the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Santa Anita Park.

Cox seeks his first Phipps win, having finished second with Juddmonte’s Bonny South in 2021. Juddmonte’s famed pink and green silks look for a record fourth Phipps, having won with Close Hatches (2014) and Sightseek (2003-04).

Garrett O’Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte USA, looks forward to seeing her back in action.

“She’s training really well and Florent told me she worked really nice again yesterday morning,” O’Rourke said. “She definitely reached a lovely peak last year and showed she is at that peak again this year in the La Troienne. All we’re really hoping to do is have her stay at the same level and try to keep the streak going.”

Also carrying colors of one of racing and breeding’s titans, Godolphin’s Brendan Walsh-conditioned Pretty Mischievous [Tyler Gaffalione, post 3] was third in the La Troienne after a late-tapering outside rally. Last year, the daughter of leading sire Into Mischief and 2016 Grade 1 Spinaway winner Pretty City Dancer earned her laurels with top-level wins in the Kentucky Oaks, Acorn and Test before capping her season with a second in the Grade 1 Cotillion over sloppy going.

Trained at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup, she scratched the day prior after becoming ‘a little bit colicky,’ per Walsh. Overall, she has never finished out of the money in 11 starts, including seven victories.

“She’s doing well,” Walsh said. “She came out of the last race good and we were happy enough with her. She should move forward from it. I think we were a little compromised by the wet track. She’s not quite her best on it and that’s been proven in the past. From a fitness point of view, she’s been working and doing very well and looks fantastic. Hopefully we get a nice, dry track and have no excuses. That’s all we want.”

As an assistant to the late Bobby Frankel, Chad Brown first-hand watched his mentor win three renewals of the Phipps, including a pair with the aforementioned Sightseek. The 19-time Breeders’ Cup-winning conditioner seeks his first with Klaravich Stables’ Randomized [Joel Rosario, post 1] and Alpha Delta Stables’ Raging Sea [Flavien Prat, post 6]. In the two most recent editions, the Klaravich-owned Search Results was second [2023] and third [2022] for Brown. 

Randomized was second in her seasonal debut in the one-mile Grade 2 Ruffian on May 4 at the Big A as the odds-on favorite. The effort was her first since running a valiant second to Idiomatic in the Distaff, which capped a strong season for the daughter of Nyquist. Her biggest victory was the Spa’s Grade 1 Alabama last year over 10 furlongs, so a return to a more route-oriented trip and two turns is assumably more to her liking.   

Raging Sea was a promising juvenile of 2022, breaking her maiden smartly at Saratoga before ultimately finishing third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Off nine months, she returned last fall and deliberately rounded into form for Brown, capping the season with a victory in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct. A homebred daughter of Curlin, she has won half of her eight starts and kicked off 2024 with a deceptively easy victory in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Doubledogdare on April 19.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher seeks his fourth Phipps when he sends out Tizzy in the Sky [Kendrick Carmouche, post 2], a daughter of Sky Kingdom who won the Listed Top Flight on April 14 at the Big A in dominant, frontrunning style. First or second in eight of 11 runs, she is owned by KimDon Racing.

“She’s doing great and she’s a very impressive breeze filly, particularly in the way she finishes and gallops out,” Pletcher said. “It’s a step up in class, but it seems like she’s coming into it was well as we can hope. I thought [the Top Flight] was good. It’s kind of what we’ve been thinking we could see from her, based on the way she’s always trained. When she gets away from the gate well and is able to get into a good rhythm, she’s been pretty impressive. Hopefully, we can do that in this race.”

Rounding out the field is C Two Racing Stable and Agave Racing Stable’s Soul of an Angel [Irad Ortiz Jr., post 4], a 4 3/4-length winner of the aforementioned Ruffian who makes her second start for Saffie Joseph, Jr. The four-time winner from 36 starts ran a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure last out in the upset of Randomized.

“She’s done well since the Ruffian,” Joseph, Jr. said. “She left Palm Meadows to ship to Saratoga today. Hopefully, she can fire another big one. She will need to improve again. It’s possible.”

Soul of an Angel is set for her second outing for Joseph, Jr., making her first 35 starts for Gerald James.

Making its Saratoga Race Course debut, the Ogden Phipps – which will be contested at the top level for the 41st consecutive time – returns to 1 1/8 miles for the first time since 1994, when it was known as the Hempstead Handicap and won by the phenomenal Sky Beauty, who carried 128lbs gate-to-wire over fellow multiple Grade 1 winner You’d Be Surprised.

The card will also feature seven additional graded events in the Grade 1, $1 million Hill ‘n’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap; the Grade 1, $1 million Resorts World Casino Manhattan, the Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps presented by Ford; the Grade 1, $500,000 Jaipur presented by Resolute Racing; the Grade 1, $500,000 Woody Stephens presented by Mohegan Sun; the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban; the Grade 2, $350,000 True North presented by F.W. Webb; and the Grade 3, $350,000 Poker.