December 11, 2023

Schuylerville featured on Saratoga opener

Summer Promise (Coady Photography)

Schuylerville S. (G3) — Race 9 (5:39 p.m. ET)

Saratoga will look to build on a record-breaking meet last year when its 2022 stand kicks off Thursday for a 40-day run. The highlight of opening day is the $175,000 Schuylerville S. (G3) for two-year-old fillies over six furlongs.

The field of nine includes eight debut winners and a filly who finished third on debut. Intriguing from a pedigree perspective is Summer Promise, who seeks to become the fourth graded stakes winner produced by her dam, Dream of Summer. The latter has reared Grade 1 winners Creative Cause and Vexatious, as well as multiple Grade 2 winner and classic-placed Destin. Summer Promise won a five-furlong maiden at Churchill Downs on June 25 by five lengths.

“She was in the one-hole and a first-time starter in the one-hole is never a good situation, but she handled it very well,” said Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. “They outbroke her by a half a stride or so, but she got into it really well.

“We never had any doubts that she was going to run a big race. She trained so forwardly and really done everything well. I didn’t know that she was going to win, but I did know that she would run a super nice race. She showed too much in the mornings.”

Lukas is tied with his protégé, Todd Pletcher, for most Schuylerville winners by a trainer with six. He first won the race in 1986 with eventual three-year-old champion Sacahuista, but has not won the Schuylerville since 2004.

Another with interesting bloodlines is Vedareo, a half-sister to 2020 juvenile filly champion Vequist. Vedareo led gate-to-wire for a two-length victory in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden at Parx on June 14.

“She looks a lot like her big sister Vequist, a tall, rangy filly and almost all black,” trainer Butch Reid said. “She acts a lot like her too in the early stages of her career. She’s a very smart filly and does everything well, so we’re excited.”

Just Cindy, a Churchill graduate, is from the first crop of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify, while Delaware Park maiden winner Musicmansandy is from the first crop by 2018 champion older male Accelerate.

Trainer Mark Casse will saddle three, including Woodbine debut winners Me and My Shadow and Adora. His third representative will be the hunch play for classic rock fans, though Janis Joplin finished only third in her first outing at Churchill.

The field is rounded out by Monmouth graduate Sweet Harmony and Presque Isle shipper Motown Mischief. The latter is trained by Tim Hamm, who won the 2020 Schuylerville with Dayoutoftheoffice.

The reconstructed Wilson Chute, which will allow main track races at one mile for the first time in decades, will be the starting point for the $135,000 Wilton S. It is restricted to three-year-old fillies that have not won a stakes other than state-bred. The field includes the graded-placed Tarabi, Favor, and Goddess of Fire.