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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Chad Brown will be represented by a trio of turf distaffers while seeking his sixth triumph in Saturday’s 33rd running of the $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2) for older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles over the Mellon turf at Saratoga Race Course.
Brown, a three-time leading trainer at the Spa, is the winningest trainer in the Ballston Spa, having saddled Zagora (2012) and Lady Eli (2017_ to victories en route to Champion Grass Female honors in their respective years, as well as winning with Dacita (2015), Quidura (2018), and Significant Form (2019).
Headlined by the 152nd running of the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers (G1), Saturday’s stakes-laden card at Saratoga includes the $750,000 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer (G1); the $600,000 Personal Ensign (G1) presented by Lia Infiniti; the $500,000 Ketel One Ballerina (G1); the $600,000 Forego (G1); the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1); and the $400,000 Ballston Spa (G2).
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Juddmonte’s Viadera, who arrives off nearly 3 weeks’ rest, was a troubled fourth as the favorite in the De La Rose on August 8 at the Spa, where she made her first start in over 8 months. The 5-year-old daughter of Bated Breath will try to regain her winning form from last season, when she secured 3 stakes victories.
Following a triumph by a neck in the 2020 De La Rose, which was her second start in North America, she won by the same margin against stablemate Blowout in the Noble Damsel (G3) on September 26 at Belmont Park. Viadera brought her form to new heights when shipping to Southern California for the Matriarch (G1) on November 29 at Del Mar, besting Blowout once more under a well-timed ride by jockey Joel Rosario to win by a nose.
In the De La Rose last out, Viadera rated at the rear of the field along the rail, checked slightly down the backstretch, and lacked racing room in upper stretch to close late finishing 2 3/4 lengths behind stablemate Regal Glory.
“She had a lot of trouble last time, but she got something out of it and hopefully can move forward off short rest,” Brown said.
Rosario, the pilot in all 5 of her North American starts, will retain the mount from post 3.
Kalifornia Queen, owned by Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, and First Row Partners, arrives off a late-closing second to stablemate Great Island in the Matchmaker (G3) on July 17 at Monmouth Park.
A Group 2 winner in her native Germany, the 4-year-old daughter of Lope de Vega was unplaced in graded stakes in her first 2 starts in North America but made her third effort stateside a winning one in an allowance/optional claiming tilt at the Ballston Spa distance on July 13 at Belmont Park.
Brown said he was satisfied with the effort.
“She ran great last time. Cutting her back and taking the blinkers off have done her well,” Brown said.
Kalifornia Queen will leave post 6 under jockey Flavien Prat.
Swift Thoroughbreds, Madaket Stables, and Wonder Stables’ Tamahere seeks her first victory since capturing her North American debut in the Sands Point (G2) on October 10 at Belmont Park.
The French-bred daughter of Wootton Bassett finished second in 2 of her 3 efforts this season. In her 2021 debut, Tamahere was second to Juliet Foxtrot in the Jenny Wiley (G1) on April 10 at Keeneland. After a distant ninth in the Longines Just a Game (G1) on June 5 at Belmont Park, she received a drop in class into allowance/optional claiming company to run second on July 28 at Saratoga.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride Tamahere from post 2.
Viadera Nails Barnmate Blowout at Wire in Matriarch
Trainer Tony Dutrow will send out Woodford Racing’s High Opinion, who bested winners last out on July 31 going1 mile over Saratoga’s inner turf.
The 4-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid lit up the tote board when breaking her maiden at 97/1 odds on October 10 at Belmont Park and validated the effort when finishing a close second in the next-out Winter Memories on November 15 at Aqueduct.
Jockey Luis Saez will pilot High Opinion from post 1.
R Unicorn Stable’s New York Girl has been multiple graded stakes-placed since joining the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott last year and will seek a breakthrough victory in the Ballston Spa.
The 4-year-old daughter of New Approach was beaten by 1 length or less in 3 graded stakes events to kick off her 2021 season. After losing by 1 length in the Endeavor (G3) on February 6 at Tampa Bay Downs, she returned to the Oldsmar oval to finish third beaten 3/4 of a length 1 month later in the Hillsborough (G2). In the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) on May 1 at Churchill Downs, she closed late to finish second and miss by a 1/2-length.
New York Girl arrives off a troubled fourth at allowance/optional claiming level on August 1 over the Spa inner turf.
Breaking from post 4, New York Girl will be piloted by Hall of Famer John Velazquez, the winningest rider in the Ballston Spa with 5 victories.
Rounding out the field is Just In Time Racing’s multiple stakes-placed Platinum Paynter, who was third in the Beaugay (G3) on May 8 at Belmont Park and in the Dr. James Penny Memorial (G3) on July 6 at Parx Racing. Trained by Juan Vazquez, the daughter of Paynter made her 5-year-old debut when second to Regal Glory in the Plenty of Grace on April 24 at Aqueduct.
Jockey Jose Lezcano will ride from post 5.
The Ballston Spa is slated as race 4 on the 13-race card. First post is 11:35 AM Eastern.
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