From the Spa: July 24 Midlantic-breds in Saratoga stakes
by Joseph Aiello
“From the Spa” returns to keep you up-to-date on horses bred in the mid-Atlantic racing in Saratoga stakes
Saturday, July 24th features two graded stakes races at the Spa in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks and the Grade III Caress Stakes. Both with small fields of four and six respectively, these races feature a couple of heavy favorites and unlikely long-shots who will look to pick up elusive stakes wins at Saratoga. With the Coaching Club featuring all Kentucky bred three year olds, we will take a look at the Caress, a five and a half furlong sprint on the turf for fillies and mares four years old and up. The Caress has two Pennsylvania bred entries with over a quarter of a million in career earnings, but finding both their first graded stakes win and win at the Spa will prove difficult even for the most accomplished of runners.
Breaking from the outside six post is Jakarta, a six year old mare by Bustin Stones – T J’s Stormy Wit, by Stormello. Jakarta took her shot in the Caress last year, getting passed in the stretch after a valiant attempt to wire the field at 9/1. Despite primarily stepping up in class since, she has struggled to win, typically fading after going out too fast in sprinting tries. With the Caress going from ungraded to a Grade III this year, her competition won’t be any easier this time around, and another wire to wire effort could be asking too much. Nevertheless, aggressive rider Luis Saez will be in the irons for trainer Michael Maker, who does his best training turf runners. After starting her racing career on dirt, Jakarta has become a turf specialist, and will look to nab her fourth turf victory for owners Three Diamonds Farm. Even though she hasn’t won since last year, a change in running style and the right set up could help revitalize her efforts. Jakarta was bred by Arrowwood Farm, Inc. and has morning line odds of 6/1.
From the inside post is Caravel, the morning line second choice at odds of 7/5. While Caravel has won before on the lead, her versatile running style should be put to good use with the main speed directly to her outside. Trainer and breeder Elizabeth Merryman, who co-owns this four year old filly with Bobby Flay, should have plenty of confidence entering this race with Caravel sporting only two career losses in eight starts and a spotless record at this distance. By Mizzen Mast – Zeezee Zoomzoom, by Congrats, Caravel will get the services of a top jockey in Irad Ortiz Jr., and looks for her first graded win in as many tries. Her break and adjustment to the Saratoga turf course will be vital in cooking up Caravel’s third trip to the winner’s circle this year.