07/20/2013 6:11PM

Saratoga: Princess of Sylmar dominates Coaching Club American Oaks

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Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar wins Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga by six lengths.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Todd Pletcher had an embarrassment of riches with his 3-year-old fillies this year, but it was the diamond in the rough who has climbed to the top of the division.

Confirming her 38-1 upset victory in the Kentucky Oaks 11 weeks ago, Princess of Sylmar cemented her status as the leader of the division with an authoritative six-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.

My Happy Face, who got loose on an uncontested lead, held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Marathon Lady. Cue the Moon was fourth, followed by Unlimited Budget, the Fair Grounds Oaks winner, also trained by Pletcher, who was the 6-5 favorite.

The win gave Pletcher a sweep of Saturday’s three stakes at Saratoga. He won the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee with Authenticity and the $100,000 My Princess Jess with Silsita, one of four fillies Pletcher ran in the Kentucky Oaks that was billed as one of the best Oaks in years, though Princess of Sylmar was viewed as an outsider.

“Everyone lost sight of the fact going into the Kentucky Oaks it was billed as the best Oaks we’ve seen in 25 years,” Pletcher said. “This filly wins it, virtually gets no respect. I think today she put herself at the top of the leader board and now everyone understands the Kentucky Oaks was a real race.”

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

Princess of Sylmar, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior, added the Coaching Club to not only her Kentucky Oaks victory, but wins in the Busher and Busanda over Aqueduct’s inner track during the winter. Her only loss this year came when she finished second to Close Hatches in the Grade 2 Gazelle.

“People that were at Aqueduct and saw her races were more impressed than people that don’t play close attention to Aqueduct in the winter, because even though they were not against the best fillies in the country they were very impressive performances,” said Pletcher, who also trains top 3-year-old fillies Dreaming of Julia and Kauai Katie.

Saturday, Princess of Sylmar was equally impressive. Instructed by Pletcher to be patient, jockey Javier Castellano had Princess of Sylmar last in the field of five, but only four lengths off the lead while My Happy Face, under Joel Rosario, set fractions of 24.60 seconds for the quarter, and 48.98 for the half-mile.

Entering the far turn – and after My Happy Face ran six furlongs in 1:12.94 – Princess of Sylmar dragged Castellano three wide, just outside of My Happy Face and Marathon Lady.

Straightening away in the stretch, Castellano began to ask Princess of Sylmar for run, and she floated away from the competition. Princess of Sylmar, owned by Ed Stanco’s King of Prussia Stable, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.07 over a main track labeled good. She returned $6.30 as the second choice.

“At the three-eighths pole, she wanted to go by really quick,” Castellano said. “I tried to ride a little more patient. I thought it was too early to pass the horses, I was afraid to hang in the last sixteenth, but she didn’t.”

Chad Brown, trainer of My Happy Face, said his filly had no excuses.

“If you told me in the paddock I was going to get a 48-and-change half uncontested, sign me up, I would have felt real good about my chances,” Brown said. “The winner was super impressive today.”

Unlimited Budget, who was third in the Kentucky Oaks and sixth in the Belmont Stakes, hit the side of the gate and was off last. She raced in fourth position while along the rail, but that’s not where she was supposed to be.

“It all went wrong right at the start, we were anticipating being in a close stalking position with her,” Pletcher said.

Princess of Sylmar will return in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on Aug. 17.

Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
No disrespect to anyones opinion I'm just tired of so many excuses with these so called good/great horses
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Mark, Then why is she running if shes expected to give such a poor performance and what circumstances does she need to compete.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Amazing how some who claim to know something about horse racing would actually think a 3 year old filly in Unlimited Budget coming back from the 1 1/2 Belmont Stakes vs top colts in the country in which would fire a top performance in the CCAO . Rags To Riches who actually won the Belmont followed her win up with a second placing in the gazelle.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
yeah 2nd placing.get a clue.the gazelle is so far off of the belmont.she was a crip.that is why she had an illustrious racing career after that.expected uninformed post. UB is nothing.she smacked mutts around in luisiana and all went crazy. she is a nice horse.nothing wrong with being that.but do not lecture us on rags to riches.she beats curlin,then can't handle average fillies.same as ub.incredible after going against boys comes back with a major clinker.for repole hope to see her back soon.but after yesterday.she might need a big freshening.all because he was afraid of that monster DOJ
Mark More than 1 year ago
exactly my point . u are uninformed . "amazing how mike repole ran in the belmont to duck dreaming of julia,so that he can follow up with arace against this monster" You knock repole for entering the Belmont and then for his horse not performing yesterday too. Then you realized you put your foot in your mouth and you changed your tune . which is it mallios ? did the Belmont zap rags to riches and not UB ? lol. comical . Or are you just a negative db knocking a billionare horse owner who loves the sport and has won his fair share of grade 1 races already ?
Mark More than 1 year ago
personally I don't think UB is on Julia or princess level but also did not expect a big performance yesterday at all. Julia looms for the big one ........ 1 1/4 Alabama
Perl More than 1 year ago
Juila is a bet-against for the rest of the year. C'mon now Mark this is sheets 101. That huge performance at GP wiped her out until she takes an extended (>4 months) layoff.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
i do not knock repoles credentials.as a horseman he is no expert.he is smart.he gets the best people to work for him.because he is a billionaire means nothing to knowledge of horses.if repole gave a seminar on buisiness.then i would sit in the front row.i am not knocking him.just questioning a bad decision. and ub healthy is better than that joke DOJ. she is just a sprinter
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Rags came out of the Belmont with an injury and it took another race for the injury to show up. Her exercise rider had brought her back after a workout and said she was off - they sent her to New Bolton, they had their Irish vet fly over to look at her - nobody could find the problem. The injury finally showed up when she ran a subpar race in the Gazelle. Unlimited Budget should not have been in the Belmont for the simple reason that she can't get the distance. The owner wanted her to run, so she ran.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
ceil are you serious,she was laid up.everyone speculated she was done.i felt bad for her and her connections.enough of excuses it took another race to find.the gazelle is in mid sept. where was she from june
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
She had a mini-vacation after the Belmont. Then she went back into training - she spiked a fever. Backed off training. Then the exercise rider took her out to the track and immediately brought her back - said she didn't feel right. Off to New Bolton for a complete check-up - nothing found. Coolmore brought their vet over from Ireland to check her over - he couldn't find a problem. All this was happening between the Belmont & the Gazelle. Was lame after the Gazelle. The exercise rider was right all along. Too bad horses can't talk.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
no i knock repole because he should of passed the belmont and run in the race closed hatches whipped dreaming of julia.he crippled her with the belmont.during that time she was sharp.learn the game for once
Mark More than 1 year ago
lol . you are a negative db . period. knock knock knock . so you think Julia is no good . also comical. she s a race horse . she also posted the best beyer for any three year old this year. no matter what bs you come up with to knock that you cant take that from her . period. understand that it may take time to come back to that . learn the game db.
stepnen smith More than 1 year ago
hey mark, not only best byer for a 3yo,jerry brown from thro graph said it was the highest fig ever! any age, colts or filly.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
amazing how mike repole ran in the belmont to duck dreaming of julia,so that he can follow up with arace against this monster.guy that had to be pissed was mike smith.he had to give up the mount today to correctly ride royal delta.to bad the delaware was not run tomorrow.
Barry Taylor More than 1 year ago
Javier bailed on the horse to ride Unlimited Budget in the oaks, I don't see why mike would not get the ride back for the Alabama.
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
i totally agree.smitty should not lose the mount.it is funny how things work out.javier and johnny v. are at the stage where they are co-chairs for pletchers top stock mounts.yet a calif. jock who has picked up their so called leftovers has given pletcher his 2 most prestigious wins of the year.i am sure ,when discussing mounts with todd for upcoming horses. he probably tells them (tongue in cheek) call me after the other 2 decide.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Javier mount .
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
The Delaware Hcp purse was $750,000. CCAO was worth $300,000. I don't imagine Mike Smith was too upset. The real problem will come in August - Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic or Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign.
Mark More than 1 year ago
TAP!!!!!!
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
I think its time to drop Unlimited Budget in for a tag she probably fits the level well she was plenty fit looked good before the race and tried hard.
mark oleary More than 1 year ago
probably the easiest exacta of the meet so far! and how did they let that filly go off at 38 to 1 in the Kentucky Oaks? what?
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Todd, you said this was a prep, So if you don't run well in the Alabama just means your a lying POS.
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
Actually in his interview before the race he said she was 100% ready to run today. So despite the fact that you're trying to sound like an idiot, just figured i'd give you the facts
Slew32A More than 1 year ago
Ok, Mrs. Pletcher.
tim More than 1 year ago
It's Todd's world. The rest of just live in it.