Feathered Brings Fine Turf form to Lake George
By: David Grening DRF
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When she won a maiden race by nearly 10 lengths here last summer, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Feathered became a graded stakes winner on dirt.
After four graded tries on dirt without success, Feathered moved to turf, where she has stepped up her game significantly. Coming off a win in the Grade 3 Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs and a narrow loss in the Grade 1 American Oaks at Santa Anita, Feathered returns to Saratoga, where she heads a field of 12 3-year-old fillies set to run 1 1/16 miles on grass Friday in the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake George Stakes.
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The Lake George (race 9) and the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville for juvenile fillies (race 4) are the features on Saratoga’s 10-race opening-day card. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
Being out of a Dynaformer mare, Feathered had the pedigree to suggest she might be meant for the turf. She won the Edgewood in front-running fashion and led for all but the final sixteenth of the American Oaks, succumbing late to Spanish Queen.
“We always had turf in the back of our mind,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Feathered for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “I guess I wouldn’t say I’m surprised but happy that she got back to her best form.”
Feathered will break from post 10 under Luis Saez.
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Contention runs deep in the Lake George. Celestine has won four straight, though she tries this distance for the first time. Partisan Politics won a stakes over this course last year but is saddled with post 12. Robillard, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, is 2 for 2 on turf. Mississippi Delta, trained by Mark Casse, has won three in a row but has yet to run this far.
Feathered (Last 3 Beyers: 95-89-73)
- Has improved her speed figures since moving to turf.
- Controlled the pace in the Edgewood and dug in when challenged on the lead in the American Oaks last out.
“I think she’s versatile enough she can be on the pace if there isn’t much, or she can sit off horses if there is a pace,” Pletcher said.
DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 Feathered. Trainer Todd Pletcher is 35-4-4-4 with a $0.56 ROI over the past five years in graded stakes on turf at Saratoga. Click for more details. – Mike Hogan
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Partisan Politics (Last 3 Beyers: 85-81-68)
- Won the P.G. Johnson Stakes last summer over this course and distance as a maiden but hasn’t won since.
- Beaten a nose last out in the Wild Applause Stakes at a mile after going very wide in the stretch.
- Should appreciate the added distance of this race.
Mississippi Delta (Last 3 Beyers: 84-78-76)
- Has won three consecutive races, including her only try on turf, the Alywow Stakes going 6 1/2 furlongs at Woodbine on July 14.
“She didn’t beat a whole lot, but she did it pretty impressively,” Casse said. “But we got to go two turns now against some better horses.”
- Asked about the distance, Casse said: “She’s a little kind of filly that just wants to skip along. Her pedigree said she should get nothing but better.”
Mrs McDougal (Last 3 Beyers: 91-90-74)
- She was a good-looking allowance winner going a mile at Aqueduct in April before finishing fourth in the American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles after sparring with Feathered on the front end.
- Should appreciate backing up to 1 1/16 miles and perhaps an off-the-pace trip.
DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 1 Celestine. Trainer Bill Mott is 33-11-3-7 with a $3.08 ROI over the past five years with last-out winners in turf routes at Saratoga. Click for more details. – Mike Hogan
DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 3 Jellicle Ball. Trainer Graham Motion has had 186 horses run their first start following a trainer switch to his barn in the past five years. Only two ran without making at least one published work since the previous start; both were off the board. – Mike Hogan
DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 5 All in Fun. Trainer Shug McGaughey is 14-5-1-3 with a $4.38 ROI over the past two years at Saratoga in turf routes following a layoff of 45 days or more. Click for more details. – Mike Hogan