08/20/2010 5:09PM

Meriwether Jessica holds on to win Yaddo

Barbara D. Livingston
Meriwether Jessica, with Alan Garcia riding, wins the Yaddo Stakes.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Meriwether Jessica had never run as far as she had to run in Friday’s $100,000 Yaddo Stakes at Saratoga. She may never have run a better race.

Receiving an ideal stalking trip under Alan Garcia, Meriwether Jessica took over from the pacesetting Woolly Bear inside the eighth pole and was able to hold off a late-running You Go West Girl to win the Yaddo by a neck. You Go West Girl, the 3-1 favorite, got second by 1 1/4 lengths over Chestoria. It was another 1 1/4 lengths to Woolly Bear in fourth.

The victory was the third consecutive for Meriwether Jessica, all since owner Patsy Symons transferred her to trainer Rick Violette in the spring. It was her first win - and first start - at 1 1/8 miles.

Violette said his concerns about Meriwether Jessica’s ability to get the distance were alleviated after watching her finish strongly in a mile work in 1:45.11 on Sunday over the main track.

“When they go a bunch of 13,” he said in reference to 13-second furlongs, “and finish the last eighth in 12 and maybe the last quarter in 24 and change it’s a very, very good exercise in the morning,” Violette said. “Usually horses that are only sprinters can’t do that.”

Breaking from the rail in the Yaddo, Meriwether Jessica saved ground behind Woolly Bear while racing early inside of Exclusive Scheme and My Dinah. Entering the far turn, Garcia bulled his way from the inside to the two path, and picked up the chase of Woolly Bear around the turn.

In upper stretch, Meriwether Jessica confronted Woolly Bear and was able to edge clear from that rival in the final furlong. Meriwether Jessica, a 5-year-old daughter of Freud, got her final eighth in 11.93 seconds while covering the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.98. She returned $11 as the third choice.

“She drew the one hole, especially where the portable rail is [18 feet from the hedge]. I thought it was a big asset,” Violette said. “Alan couldn’t have ridden a better race. Every time they came to her she kind of spurted away. She ran the last eighth in 11 and change. That’s good in anybody’s game.”

You Go West Girl rallied wide under Jose Lezcano, but could not get there, falling a neck short in this race for the second time in three years. A frustrated Tom Proctor, the trainer of You Go West Girl, was upset the Yaddo was run on the inner turf, which has tighter turns than does the outer course.

“I just want to know who puts these . . . races on the inner turf,” Proctor said. “Every race she’s run here has been on the inner track. Poor filly, I feel sorry for her.”