SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Teresa Viola Racing Stables and St. Elias Stable’s Nonna Madeline shined on the front end to win Wednesday’s $85,000 Summer Colony Stakes at Saratoga.
Nonna Madeline broke well from post 4 as the even-money favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., and immediately challenged for the early lead. The Todd Pletcher trainee raced just outside of the 3/2 second choice Golden Award heading into the clubhouse turn.
The two gals fought heads apart down the backstretch and through the far turn, neither giving an inch. Golden Award was the first to be put to a drive as she began to lose ground at the 1/4 pole.
Nonna Madeline straightened for home with a slim advantage and slowly edged clear in the stretch before crossing victorious by 1 1/4 lengths. The Todd Pletcher trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in a final time of 1:49.13.
“I had a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “We didn’t know what (Golden Award) was going to do. I just went with my plan to come running out of there, and if I can make the lead easy, make it, and if something else changed, Todd let me do whatever I needed to do. … She broke sharp, so I just sat second beside (Golden Award). We were going a little fast, but I didn’t have too many options. She was the filly to beat, so I had to stay there. She was very comfortable. She wasn’t going that keen, and on the backside, she relaxed a little bit and she was still in the race. She never backed up, so that was great.”
The rest of the short field kept their same positions from start to finish. The two other Pletcher runners, Bellera and Always Shopping, took third and fourth, respectively, over the longshot Bossy Bride.
Nonna Madeline’s win was her first of the year and at the stakes level to improve her overall record to 10-3-3-1. The 4-year-old Candy Ride filly, a multiple graded stakes-placed runner, has now earned $202,190.
“The more we’ve done with her and having had the opportunity to run her two turns (earlier this year), I thought there was a decent chance she’d see out the mile and 1/8,” Pletcher said about her first time trying this distance. “To be honest with you, I looked at this one hoping to get that stake win for her. Now that we’ve got that, we can be a little more ambitious.”
Nonna Madeline returned $4.30 to win, $2.30 to place, and $2.10 to show. Golden Award brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Bellera paid $2.20 to show.