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No turf, no problem for Simply Ravishing in P. G. Johnson
Credit: NYRA

No turf, no problem for Simply Ravishing in P. G. Johnson

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – After defeating open company in her career debut, New York-bred Simply Ravishing scored against stakes company next out when securing a victory in an off-the-turf edition of Thursday’s 16th running of the $100,000 P.G. Johnson for juvenile fillies over the main track at Saratoga Race Course.

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Heavy rain showers throughout Wednesday forced the event off the inner turf and back to 7 furlongs from its initial 1 1/16-mile distance. Simply Ravishing was cutting back in distance and changing surfaces from her 1 1/16-mile maiden victory on August 2 over the Spa’s Mellon turf, but the daughter of Laoban had no problems with the altered conditions.

Piloted by Luis Saez, Simply Ravishing broke from the outside post in the four-horse field just to the outside of Con Lima, who commanded the compact field through an opening 1/4-mile in 22.82 seconds and a 1/2 in 45.67 over the fast main track.

Around the far turn, Simply Ravishing began inching her way to even terms with the pacesetter and was in command by the 1/4 pole. At the top of the stretch, Saez asked for more from his charge and she opened up on the field, drawing off to a 6 1/2-length win in a final time of 1:21.85.

Con Lima finished second as the post-time favorite while fellow Todd Pletcher trainee Union Gables was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Thursday finished fourth and last. Invincible Gal, Plum Ali, and Mischievous Dream were scratched.

“I knew (Con Lima) was pretty tough,” said Saez, who won his fourth stakes race of the meet aboard Simply Ravishing. “She came up from Florida, where she won pretty nicely. We tried to break good and put pressure on her. I knew my filly was good, too. Last time, she ran on the turf and showed she had a lot of ability. Today, she proved it. She can run on anything. I had a lot of horse, so when I came close to the wire, I was saving some for next time.”

Simply Ravishing gave trainer Kenny McPeek a second stakes win of the meet after sending out Swiss Skydiver to an ultra-impressive win in the Alabama (G1) on August 15.

Harold Lerner, who owns Simply Ravishing with Nehoc Stables and Magdalena Racing, said he was not the least bit concerned with the surface change.

“We’ve been very happy with this horse and felt she could run on any surface,” Lerner said. “What I saw today was very impressive. You just love to see them draw off and win in the right way. Hopefully, she’ll have a big future in front of her. She’s a New York-bred and twice a winner against open company. Now, we know she can (run on) turf and dirt. She’s gone two turns and she’s gone seven furlongs, so I think we have a really nice filly on our hands and we’re extremely happy with her.”

Credit: NYRA

Lerner said that Simply Ravishing could stay on dirt for her next start, which could take place in the Darley Alcibiades (G1) on October 2 at Keeneland, a race that McPeek has won 4 times.

“Ken and I talked about it and we’re going to send her down to Kentucky to him and we’re going to take a look at the Alcibiades at Keeneland,” Lerner said. “We’re hopeful she’d be up for the next step. She’s nominated now to the Breeders’ Cup, and after what I saw today, I think we’re going to roll the dice and just keep going with her.”

Banking $55,000 in victory and returning $7.30 for a $2 win bet, Simply Ravishing increased her lifetime earnings to $94,600.

Bred in New York by Meg Levy, Simply Ravishing gave her first-crop sire Laoban his first stakes triumph as a stallion. She is out of the More Than Ready mare Four Wishes and was bought for $50,000 from last year’s Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale in Lexington, Kentucky, where she was consigned by Bluewater Sales.

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