07/31/2016 6:11PM

Miss Ella cruises to easy Caress Stakes triumph

Debbie Roma
Miss Ella cruises to an easy victory in the Caress Stakes

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Graham Motion said he really wanted to run Miss Ella on the turf Sunday at Saratoga in the $100,000 Caress Stakes. But he certainly didn’t mind when the race was switched to the main track due to daylong rain, especially after Miss Ella cruised to an easy 2 1/2-length victory over Fusaichi Red in the 5 1/2-furlong dash for older fillies and mares.

Miss Ella and jockey Joel Rosario took advantage of a relatively paceless field from the outset, racing inside Harp N Halo. Miss Ella shook free readily while still in hand on the final turn, opened a commanding advantage near midstretch and was never threatened while coasting to the wire under her nearly motionless rider.

Fusaichi Red, the lone “main track only” entrant in the field, rallied mildly to be second best while never menacing the winner. Miss Matzoball, who pressed the pace from outside, outlasted the others to finish third in a field that scratched down from 11 to five starters after the race was moved to the sloppy main track.

Miss Ella, a 4-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate owned by Jack Swain III, posted her fourth win in 11 starts, three of those victories coming in stakes races including the Grade 2 Beaumont on the dirt at 3. She completed the distance in 1:04.05 and paid $5.90.

“I was worried about the track because it was obviously getting worse as the day went on, but we decided it made sense to run because she’s run well on the dirt before,” Motion said.

“She’s bred for the turf, I trained her mother (Sweet Tune), and she was a distance grass horse. So it’s kind of hard to figure out how we wound up sprinting on the dirt. But maybe this is what she needs to be doing. Joel knows her, I didn’t give him any instructions, I left it entirely up to him, and she just dragged him up to the lead and did it very comfortably. He gave her a beautiful ride.”

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