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Aaron previews the 2022 Suzie O’Cain Stakes at Saratoga, then gives his top picks and longshots. She’s a Mia is the 7/5 morning line favorite in the inaugural running of this race restricted to New York-bred 3-year-old fillies. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Eddie F’s Racing’s Dream Central will look to double up on stakes scores in the inaugural $125,000 Suzie O’Cain, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for New York-bred sophomore fillies on Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.
Previously run as the Stillwater, the race is named in honor of Suzie O’Cain, who passed away in January following a battle with breast cancer. O’Cain and her husband, Dr. C. Lynwood O’Cain, managed the late Carl Lizza’s Highcliff Farm in Delanson, N.Y. for more than 20 years. O’Cain also served on the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Board of Directors and was co-chairwoman of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders’ Political Action Committee and chairwoman of the NYTB Media Committee.
Eddie Fazzone of Eddie F’s Racing and proprietor of Eddie F’s Eatery in Saratoga Springs, which also has a stand at Saratoga Race Course, said he is hoping Dream Central will provide him with his first winner at the Spa.
“We’re hoping we can get the same result as last time,” said Fazzone. “To win the Suzie O’Cain would be special. Suzie was a great friend of mine and her and Doc would come into the restaurant all the time. I got to know her very well and it would be great to win that race for her.
“She was a great person and she had a great personality,” added Fazzone. “We had a lot of great talks with her and Doc. I was really sad when I saw that she had passed.”
Trained by Gary Sciacca, Dream Central rallied to a neck score to graduate in style last out at odds of 39-1 in the NYSSS Cupecoy’s Joy, a seven-furlong turf sprint on June 19 at Belmont.
With returning rider Jose Lezcano up, the Central Banker bay was away slowly from post 2 in the 11-horse field and tracked in sixth before launching her winning run, gunning between Robyn and Eli and a tiring Royal Dancer to find the wire just in time and stun the field in a final time of 1:21.57.
“She ran great, but I can’t say enough about the ride Jose Lezcano gave her going between horses like that,” Fazzone said. “He just never gave up on her. He never stopped riding and came right through that hole. When I look at the head-on replay even now, I still can’t believe she went through there. It was a nice Father’s Day gift.”
Fazzone said he wasn’t fazed by starting Dream Central in a stake as a maiden in her seventh career start.
“I picked that race out two months prior, hoping we’d break our maiden by then,” Fazzone said. “But I told Gary even if we haven’t, I still want to run her. It’s a New York-sired stakes and I knew she had a little talent and a little bad luck in some of her races. Gary had her ready to go and even though she was 39-1, I was feeling pretty good going into the race.”
Dream Central, bred in the Empire State by Fedwell Farm, will emerge from post 6 carrying a field-high 123 pounds – five pounds more than her rivals.
Commonwealth New Era Racing’s Dufresne graduated at second asking in August at the Spa, scoring a narrow neck victory in a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint. She took her talents north to Canada and finished third in the five-furlong Woodbine Cares in September ahead of a seventh-place effort one month later in the Grade 3 Matron at Belmont. The Uncaptured bay completed her juvenile season with a closing third in the Maid of the Mist, a one-turn mile over a sloppy and sealed Big Sandy on October 30.
Winless in three starts this campaign, Dufresne, bred by Newtownanner Stud Farm, will leave post 2 under Hall of Famer John Velazquez.
Anthony Pettograsso’s homebred Lisa’s Vision graduated at second asking in a June 4 state-bred maiden special weight traveling seven furlongs over firm Belmont turf. With returning rider Jose Ortiz up, Lisa’s Vision tracked in second before drawing off to a 3 1/2-length score that garnered a 71 Beyer Speed Figure.
Lisa’s Vision has breezed four times at Saratoga since her maiden score, including a five-eighths breeze over the Oklahoma training turf Friday in 1:04.36.
“She’s been training really well,” trainer Jorge Abreu said. “She had a good breeze and I’ve seen what I need to see from her in the mornings. Everything looks like it’s on target.”
Out of the Vision and Verse mare La Mousse, Lisa’s Vision will emerge from post 3.
Bella Mia Stables’ She’s a Mia, by Astern, graduated in October sprinting six furlongs over the Belmont turf ahead of a close second to Vergara in the open Tepin at 1 1/16-miles over firm Big A turf for her former conditioner Cleveland Johnson.
She was transferred to Christophe Clement for her sophomore season, posting a pair of runner-up efforts over the Belmont turf. Joel Rosario has the call from post 5.
Rounding out the field are a pair of contenders for conditioner Joe Sharp in maiden winners Classic Lynne [post 4, Tyler Gaffalione] and Solib [post 1, Luis Saez], who was claimed for $50,000 last out from a narrow nose defeat in a 1 1/16-mile turf test at Belmont. Caragate, Reigning Chick and Galaxina are entered for the main-track only.
The Suzie O’Cain is slated as Race 9 on Wednesday’s 10-race card which also offers the Grade 1, $150,000 A.P. Smithwick Memorial steeplechase in Race 1. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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