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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Juddmonte homebred Viadera returns to action following an 8-month hiatus to defend her title in Sunday’s 18th running of the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose for older fillies and mares going one mile over the inner turf.
The stakes event for non-winners of a graded stake in 2021 honors Henryk de Kwiatkowski’s 1981 Champion Turf Filly, whose stakes victories include triumphs against colts in the Hollywood Derby and Saranac, as well as the Diana, the Athenia and the E.P. Taylor against her female counterparts. She was trained by Hall of Famer Woody Stephens.
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Trained by Chad Brown, Viadera has not raced since capturing the Matriarch (G1) on November 29 at Del Mar. The 5-year-old daughter of Bated Breath will attempt to become the first back-to-back De La Rose winner.
Unbeaten in 5 starts at 1 mile, Viadera previously raced in Europe, where she won twice at the distance before moving to Brown’s stable last year.
Following her North American debut, where she was a distant fourth in the Intercontinental (G3) at Belmont Park, Viadera won the 2020 De La Rose when chasing a slow pace and collaring stablemate Noor Sahara to win by a neck, leading a Brown-trained exacta.
Viadera notched graded stakes prosperity in the next-out Noble Damsel (G3) on September 26 at Belmont Park, with a ground-saving trip to secure a neck-length victory over stablemate Blowout.
She bested Blowout once more when shipping out west for the Matriarch under a perfectly-timed ride by Joel Rosario, finding a seam in between horses in mid-stretch to nose out her stablemate for the win.
“It’s been a little frustrating with her getting such a late start to the year, she’s been ready to run for quite a while,” Brown said. “Her race was rained off the turf a month ago. Here we are getting started a little later to the races, but hopefully she has a good second half of the season.”
Brown previously saddled Uni to a 2018 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose score. Like Viadera, Uni also used the De La Rose as a steppingstone to triumphs in the Noble Damsel and Matriarch later that year. Uni earned Champion Turf Mare honors the following year with Grade 1 victories in the First Lady at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita.
Joel Rosario retains the mount from post 3.
Viadera Nails Barnmate Blowout at Wire in Matriarch
Brown also sends out Peter Brant’s graded stakes winner Regal Glory, who was last seen enduring a troubled trip in the Longines Just a Game (G1) on June 5 at Belmont Park.
The 5-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom, out of graded stakes winner Mary’s Follies, was out of position and rank up the backstretch but appeared full of run approaching the far turn and closed late to get fourth.
During her sophomore season, Regal Glory secured 2 graded stakes wins at the Spa in the Lake George and Lake Placid, the latter of which saw her dead heat with the Graham Motion-trained Varenka. Last year, she added a third graded stakes win to her ledger in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3).
“She had a horrendous trip in there, a real nightmare,” Brown recalled of her Just a Game effort. “She broke badly and just had a real rough trip. She seems to have come out of it well. She’s definitely shown an affinity for the course.”
Jose Ortiz rides from post 7.
Varenka, Regal Glory Dead-Heat Darkened Lake Placid
Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, who saddled Carriage Trail to a score in the 2008 De La Rose, sends out Star Command for this year’s running. The 4-year-old daughter of 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb captured winning form in her seventh lifetime start in a 1-mile maiden special weight on June 3 at Belmont Park. She arrives at the De La Rose off a 10 1/2-length triumph against winners in an off-the-turf allowance event at Belmont Park 5 weeks later.
“Her races have been good this year,” McGaughey said. “This is a pretty big step up for her, but it’s worth taking a shot. Why not? We’re here and all we’ve got to do is lead her over.”
A Kentucky homebred, Star Command is out of the stakes-placed Ghostzapper mare Puzzling, whose dam was Grade 1-placed and producer Dancinginmydreams – a full sister to champion Heavenly Prize.
Star Command will leave the gate from post 4 under Manny Franco.
Stonestreet Stables’ Hendy Woods seeks her second stakes win for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse. The daughter of Uncle Mo scored in last year’s Indiana Grand at its namesake track en route to notching graded stakes black type when second in the Edgewood (G2) on September 4 at Churchill Downs.
A winner of her 2021 bow at the Louisville oval, Hendry Woods was a last out fourth in the Old Forester Mint Julep (G3) on June 12.
“We’ve been running against some tough ones,” Casse said. “She should be very competitive. She’s training well and looks good.”
Tyler Gaffalione rides from post 1.
Completing the field are Shifty She (post 2, Irad Ortiz Jr.), Ravens Cry (post 5, Luis Saez), and Belle Laura (post 6, Jose Lezcano).
The Fasig-Tipton De La Rose is carded as race 7 on Sunday’s 10-race program at Saratoga Race Course. First post is 1:05 PM.
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