February 7, 2023

California invaders loom large in Test

American Gal wins the Victory Ride (G3) at Belmont Park on Sunday, July 9, 2017 (c) NYRA/Joe Labozzetta/Adam Coglianese Photography

With a trio of imposing challengers from California, the local contingent appears to be facing an uphill task in Saturday’s $500,000 Test (G1) at Saratoga. A total of 10 3-year-old fillies are entered for the 7-furlong race.

Faypien, who stretched her win streak to three with a victory in the June 17 Summertime Oaks (G2), will make her first start outside of Santa Anita for Bob Baffert. A $720,000 juvenile purchase, the daughter of Ghostzapper will be accompanied by jockey Rafael Bejarano.

American Gal and Chalon already have experience on East Coast, shipping to Belmont Park to easily win recent stakes races.

Multiple Grade 1-placed at 2, American Gal opened her sophomore campaign with a sharp score in the July 9 Victory Ride (G3), overcoming a stumbling start to win going away by 4 ¾ lengths. She’s been training at Del Mar in the interim for Simon Callaghan and the Concord Point filly will add the services of leading rider Jose Ortiz.

A winner in 3-of-4 starts, Chalon shipped east for Peter Miller to record a 6 ½-length tally in the June 11 Jersey Girl last out. From the first crop of Dialed In, the bay lass will keep Paco Lopez in the saddle.

Tequilita brings fine credentials to the plate as she cuts back in distance following a seventh in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Winner of the 7-furlong Forward Gal (G2) at Gulfstream Park earlier this year, the Michael Matz-trained Union Rags filly will try to parlay a stalk-and-pounce trip into a strong showing with Luis Saez.

Your Love, who is unbeaten from two starts for Chad Brown, will make an anticipated stakes debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. guides the daughter of Flatter. Minnie Blip will step up to meet stakes foes following a runaway allowance/optional claiming win at Churchill Downs and the Al Stall Jr. trainee promises to show speed from her rail post beneath Javier Castellano.

Grade 3 winner Vertical Oak, second in the Victory Ride, is also part of the mix. Completing the field are Channel’s Legacy, Cursor and Divine Miss Grey.