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Saratoga: Princess of Sylmar might race again in 2013
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The connections of Princess of Sylmar have not ruled out running their three-time Grade 1-winning filly again this year but won’t be in a hurry to make a decision.
“There’s still a chance we’ll run again,” said Todd Pletcher, who trains Princess of Sylmar for owner and breeder Ed Stanco. “I haven’t really had a chance to talk to Ed, and I don’t think we’ll come to any firm conclusions for a little bit.”
Princess of Sylmar came out of her 2 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama “very good,” according to Pletcher, who appeared Sunday to be torn over whether to continue on with Princess of Sylmar this year or point to a 4-year-old campaign.
Princess of Sylmar, the first filly since Open Mind in 1989 to win the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama, is not Breeders’ Cup nominated, and a supplement to the Distaff is not being considered. If Princess of Sylmar were to run again this year, it would be either in the $1 million Cotillion at Parx on Sept. 21 or the $400,000 Beldame, where she would meet older fillies – perhaps two-time champion Royal Delta – at Belmont Park.
“There’s plenty of reasons to stop on a lot of these as you go along, so you hate to stop on one when there’s not a reason to, but at the same time, she’s been running all year, there’s a lot of races next year, possibly even as a 5-year-old, so you don’t want to get greedy,” Pletcher said. “That’s what we’ll have to evaluate.”
For many reasons, the Cotillion makes more sense than does the Beldame for the Pennsylvania-bred Princess of Sylmar. As the breeder and owner, Stanco would be in position to pick up $180,000 in bonus money on top of the $600,000 first-place prize were Princess of Sylmar to win. The Cotillion, run at 1 1/16 miles, is restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Pletcher’s concern is that Princess of Sylmar has run “two very powerful races in four weeks’ time.”
Pletcher said he would evaluate the condition of Princess of Sylmar and speak with Stanco before making a decision.
Princess of Sylmar earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for the Alabama.
I was absolutely perplexed when I saw this headline. And with the reference to Princess possibly running again this year, I expected to read about some minor injury or something else coming out of the Alabama that would put her participation the rest of the year in jeopardy. But nope, they just want to call it a year. True, Princess has been in steady training since October, but the connections make it seem like running 9 races in 11 months and two races in 4 weeks is beyond the pale. She just had a two and a half month break between the Kentucky Oaks in May and the CCA Oaks in July. Shouldn't that break have been enough to gear her up for the 2nd half of the season? And if it wasn't, then give her a few more weeks and try to find a softer spot than the CCA Oaks to prep for the Alabama. Putting her on the shelf now, without any injuries or illness or clear signs of decline is just plain bizarre, but unfortunately not uncommon these days. Where is the desire to test her again against the speedy and dangerous Beholder or the improved Close Hatches? But a much bigger question is where is the desire to test her against older females, particularly one future Hall of Famer, a 5 year old that has found a way to remain in active training for long stretches, including as a 3 year old when she won the Black Eyed Susans, ran in the CCA Oaks, won the Alabama and yet had enought to run 2nd in the Beldame and win the BC Ladies Classic? Royal Delta traveled to Dubai last year but had enough to make it to and win the BC Ladies Classic again, and after another Dubai trip this year, all systems are go for a historic three-peat in the BC Ladies Classic. I hope this purposed move isn't some veiled attempt at an Eclipse "4 Corners", with the connections believing they have the division all but wrapped up and that the only way to lose the Eclipse is if she were to lose on the track to the likes of a Beholder(would equal their rivalry at 1 apiece) or a Close Hatches(would give Close Hatches the 2-1 advantage). By not running, those horses wouldn't get extra points in addition to their race wins for beating Princess of Sylmar; even if those horses were to win some big races, they will have a rough time building up the necessary accomplishments to counter Princess' decisive head-to-head win in the big race, the Kentucky Oaks. In addition to being unsportsmanlike, the logic of the 4 Corners is faulty, in my opinion. If Beholder were to win some combo of the Cotillion/Lady's Secret and the BC Distaff and Close Hatches were to win some combo of the Cotillion/Beldame(Beldame preferable) and BC Distaff their accomplishments might actually surpass those of Princess. Under either scenario, the other filly would have beaten her elders in at least one race, the biggest race for females in North America, and would equal(Close Hatches-3) or top(Beholder-4) Princess' 3 grade 1 wins. If you were an Eclipse voter, would you take the filly you just saw compete and win on the brightest stage or the one you haven't seen in 3 months? I also don't like how, by airing their thoughts about stopping on Princess, Stanco and Pletcher have set up a narrative in which if they do run her once more in a race like the Cotillion they will be hailed as some super sportsmen, generous people giving the fans the privilege or seeing Princess run one more time. My response would be, why not two races? Assuming health, I don't see why Stanco has made the Breeder's Cup supplement payment an excuse by which to completely rule out running in the Breeder's Cup. Back in the days when a non-nominated horse had to be supplemented separately each year in order to compete, we saw horses like Bayakoa and Paseana supplemented twice and Best Pal three times. If I'm not mistaken, if Stanco supplements this year, then he won't have to do it again if Princess were to run in the BC in 14' or 15'(not fully certain about this). How many great Breeder's Cup moments would we have never seen had other owners had the same aversion to supplementing? Finally, I have a simple philiosophical problem with the concept of preventive time off, stopping on a horse without the sign of a physical injury, form decline, or mental instability/disinterest. Resting a perfectly sound horse so as to come back even stronger in the future gives the illusion that trainers or anyone else can have control over the occurrence of injuries. I'm not saying that preventive breaks can't work or haven't been successful, but as a fan who wants to see the best horses compete, I don't particularly like it. And I'm always reminded of Jimmy Croll announcing after Holy Bull had crushed the Woodward that the horse was done for the year, and that there would be no Jockey Club Gold Cup, or BC Classic, thus no 10 furlong race against open company. What happens? Holy Bull returns brilliantly to win a sprint but then breaks down in the Donn 2nd time out.
I stated previously that I was really surprised, to say the least! When Pletcher stated that Princess would be done for the year after the Alabama! If she is healthy, there is no reason not to run her in The Cotillion! For all the reasons mentioned above. I personally would think it a crime not to run a Pa. bred in a grade 1 race in Pennsylvania! I can tell you that the management at Parx will stop at nothing to try and get her there!!! I am sure they have been on the phone with Stanco already. The competition will probably be mediocre at best! So what do they have to lose! Stanco wins!...Parx wins and fans like me who live in close proximity to the track will win! By having the opportunity to see this beautiful filly up close! At this track, it's so much easier to do then at places like Saratoga, Monmouth etc. Will be very surprised if they decline the invitation to run her in The Cotillion! You never know how a horse will run from one year to the next! If it were me,I would be grabbing all the cash I can now! She will have plenty of time to rest up for next year!
If the owner is not willing to pony up the money for the BC, then it's 1/9 that she runs In the Cotillion. It's a million dollar race for 3yos and the owner stands to get additional money as a PA bred. So it's all about the money. Sure thing she runs there.
She's had nine races without a real break so I see Pletcher's point, but the Cotillion will be too tempting to pass. A PA bred with a stable name, King of Prussia, which is a town outside of Phila and near Parx racetrack. She started her career at Penn National and can end her three year old season with a grade 1 win at Parx. Not to mention 600k for the win plus Pa breeders money, which I believe is 20% or another 120k. (it would be 30% if the sire was standing in Pa.) I think they train her up to the race and see who is expected to show up. As a betting man I say she's 90% a green light for the Cotillion. (As a weird side note, the sire of Wise Dan is now standing in Pa.)
So now we are crowning champions and stopping on horses for no reason in August. LOL, this game gets worse and worse every year.
Apparently im the only one that wasnt impressed with her alabama run. She had a dream trip and made a bold move around the turn but with that trip and the field she faced. Id expect a 10-12 length win. Not a diminishing 2 1/2 lengths. Just my opinion, but if she faces a quality field next race, im gonna play against.
After that walk around the park, there is simply no reason why she cannot run AT LEAST one more time this year. In the past, a record like this along with some easy races would make her a shoe in for the BC Distaff. Very poor sportsmanship to end her year in August, but this year has been full of such tactics and decisions. I am truly starting to lose interest with so any taking the easy way out, but I suspect the Travers next week will revive me, though I fully expect to be disappointed. This has not been my year, to put it mildly! BTW, her connections should not be so confident in that Eclipse. If a three year old should say win the Beldame and Distaff beating elders, she's may have a problem.
Why does almost every article eventually place emphasis on THE BEYER number. As if that is the end all in determining prominence and quality. She's a very very nice filly. Period. I believe Todd knows that she has to win one more to lock up Eclipse. That's why the chatter about her continued racing this year. But forget about beating Royal Delta.
I just don't understand why you wouldn't go to the cotillion; third start off a layoff AND turning back in distance. Her last two races were in really short fields and not roughly run races. Pletcher's training practices make him highly successful. However, they don't help the sport of horseracing . He should just race against himself because he's cannibalizing the sport.
Do what is right for the horse first. But if she is fresh and can go one more, go to the Cotillion and take the pay day. Getting paid over 1 Million Dollars for 2 public works outs won't be all that bad. Congrats to Ed & the Team with this one!