08/21/2013 3:14PM

Saratoga: Ballerina win for Judy the Beauty would be a Grade 1 first for Ward

Barbara D. Livingston
Judy the Beauty has 4 wins and 6 seconds from 10 career starts but has never won on dirt.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – When No Nay Never won the Prix Morny at Deauville in France last Sunday, it gave trainer Wesley Ward the first Group 1 victory of his 22-year training career.

He hopes it’s the start of a trend.

Ward will seek his first North American Grade 1 victory Friday at Saratoga when Judy the Beauty, a three-time runner-up in Grade 1 races, starts in the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes at seven furlongs.

A competitive field of 11 was entered in the Ballerina, a “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint to be run at Santa Anita in early November.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

Judy the Beauty, a daughter of Ghostzapper owned by Ward, has 4 wins and 6 seconds from 10 career starts. Ironically, she has never won on dirt, finishing second five times, including a nose loss in the Grade 1 Prioress here last year and a runner-up performance in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder last month.

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In the Princess Rooney, Judy the Beauty was squeezed back to last at the start in the 12-horse field, then had to come five wide in the stretch while settling for second, 2 3/4 lengths behind Starship Truffles, who is back in this field.

“She fell out of the race, so to speak, didn’t race her normal way,” said Joe Murphy, Ward’s Saratoga-based assistant. “She put in a big effort, big race. Unfortunately, we couldn’t overcome that disadvantage.”

Since returning from south Florida, Judy the Beauty has put in two solid workouts over the main track.

“It was hot down there,” Murphy said, referring to Calder. “Everything is beautiful up here. She’s been thriving, training well. I think she’ll be right there. Obviously, her form says it.”

Judy the Beauty will be ridden by Joel Rosario from post 8. At 115 pounds, Judy the Beauty is in receipt of seven pounds from Starship Truffles and four pounds from Dance to Bristol and Book Review.

Dance to Bristol brings a six-race winning streak into the Ballerina, which will be her first try in a Grade 1 stakes. She has finished first or second in 16 of 17 starts and overcame some traffic trouble to win the Grade 2 Honorable Miss Stakes here on July 29.

“There was a horse at the three-eighths pole that was stopping and kind of drifting and kind of pushed her out across heels,” said Ollie Figgins III, trainer of Dance to Bristol. “He steadied her pretty hard there. At the quarter pole, I saw her head go up again for some reason. I don’t know what happened there, and she had nowhere to go. It was neat to see her momentum broken and then take back off. Before, she just kind of got cranked up as she went.”

Though Figgins was not thrilled with his filly’s rail post draw, he’s “very excited” to give Dance to Bristol her first Grade 1 opportunity.

“She deserves it,” he said. “It would be a big feather in her cap if she could win this race as far as her value.”

Starship Truffles has won 14 of 24 starts, including her last two most impressively. Trainer Marty Wolfson said that a chemical imbalance affected her in a couple of races, “but we got that rectified in her last two races.”

Wolfson said Starship Truffles is effective from on or off the pace.

“She’s got a lot of speed, but it’s really controllable,” Wolfson said.

Book Review ships in from Southern California for Bob Baffert. Book Review is 5 for 6 at seven furlongs, including the Grade 1 La Brea and, most recently the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park. Rafael Bejarano is named to ride.

Classic Point, runner-up to Dance to Bristol in the Honorable Miss and Fantasy of Flight, runner-up to Dance to Bristol in the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses, should supply the early speed.

Villanesca, Street Girl, Moment in Dixie, Glorious View, and Sure Route complete the field.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Greg More than 1 year ago
tough to pick this winner, Rafeal first time shipping, watch out for this one.
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Waddaya mean first time shipping? How did the horse get to Cali last fall?
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
DRF, you need to get these ads OUT OF HERE. These people are using your site illegally.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago