08/11/2012 12:59PM

Saratoga: Sensible Lady brings impressive record at smaller tracks to Coronation Cup

Barbara D. Livingston
Sensible Lady has improved dramatically since being tried in turf sprints.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After winning turf sprint stakes at Pimlico, Colonial Downs, and Penn National, Sensible Lady will try to shine under the bright lights of Saratoga when she competes in Monday’s $100,000 Coronation Cup at 5 1/2 furlongs over the Mellon turf course.

Trainer Tim Salzman was just looking to get a race into Sensible Lady when he entered her in a second-level turf race at Pimlico in April. It was her first start of the year, and her previous turf try resulted in a fifth-place finish in the Selima Stakes at Laurel.

“It was hard to get a race for her,” Salzman said by phone from Maryland. “We were fit to go five-eighths on the grass and she ran huge on it. I didn’t expect her to run as huge as she did, because she ran in the Selima as a 2-year-old and she didn’t show quite as much as she’s showing now.”

Sensible Lady, a daughter of Street Sense, returned to the dirt in the Trevose Stakes at Parx, where she was beaten 19 lengths by then-undefeated Agave Kiss. In four subsequent turf sprint stakes, Sensible Lady has won three.

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Sensible Lady will be running back just 17 days after winning the Jenny Wade at Penn National, run over a yielding turf course.

“I’m not worried about it,” Salzman said of the quick turnaround. “When she won the Buckland [at Colonial] we were coming back quickly, and she handled that pretty well.”

Sweet Cat, trained by Todd Pletcher, could be the horse to beat. Sweet Cat, a maiden winner over this course last year, hasn’t been out since finishing second to Jazzy Idea in the Thirty Flags at Belmont on May 2. Pletcher explained that Sweet Cat got sick not too long after that race.

Pletcher said that Sweet Cat “didn’t run the turn very well” in her May 2 race, but “once she straightened for home I thought she was going to get it done. But the horse that beat her is a nice filly who came back to beat older mares at Pimlico.”

Though Sweet Cat was good enough to run third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at 1 1/16 miles, Pletcher believes “this is probably what she’s best at.”

Sharp Sally, 2 for 2 on dirt for Christophe Clement, will try turf for the first time in this spot. Clement said that he doesn’t have a better dirt alternative in which to run the daughter of Posse, and noted that the dam side of the pedigree favors turf. She is a half-sister to Lemon Spice, who was a four-time turf winner for Chad Brown.

Heaven Knows What, Spun Cat, and Quick Flip also look like contenders in here.

* One race before the 5 1/2-furlong turf feature, there is a two-mile optional claimer on dirt.

A field of nine was drawn for the race, including the coupled entry of Ea, a winner at 1 1/8 miles here on Aug. 6, and Springcourt, who ran fourth here at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 1. Sumo, second to Ea, Bridge Loan, and Sensor are others attempting the marathon distance.