08/30/2011 1:29PM

Saratoga: Pletcher also well-armed with Victory Island


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher will not only send out the likely favorite and horse to beat, Captain Webb, in Thursday’s main event at Saratoga, the With Anticipation Stakes, he also figures to have the public choice in the the $75,000 Anne M. Clare.

Pletcher will send out the Mike Repole-owned Victory Island against just five other New York-bred juvenile fillies in the six-furlong Ann Clare. Victory Island, a daughter of Friendly Island, rallied smartly from off the pace to a four-length victory when debuting over a muddy track here on Aug. 7.

“I was very pleased with her first race and glad they got this race to fill,” Pletcher said of Victory Island. “Otherwise we were considering sending her to Finger Lakes.”

Finger Lakes will run the $100,000 Lady Finger Stakes on Monday.

Victory Island is one of three unbeaten fillies in the Anne Clare. The others are Why Take a Chance and Harbor Mist. Bellacourt, Pure Gossip, and Hook It up complete the field.

Why Take a Chance and Pure Gossip used tactics similar to those of Victory Island to capture their debuts. Why Take a Chance closed strongly from mid-pack en route to a 4 3/4-length win here on Aug. 4 that was flattered when runner-up Harbor Mist returned to win her next start by nearly a similar margin.

Pure Gossip raced forwardly, exploded to a comfortable lead at midstretch before cruising home to a surprising 3 3/4-length win at first asking on July 22, lighting up the tote board to the tune of a $76 win mutual. She’ll be coupled in the wagering with Harbor Mist as a Flying Zee Stable entry for trainer Phil Serpe.