08/22/2013 2:22PM

Saratoga: Sweet Lulu making a class jump in Test start

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Shigeki Kikkawa
California-based Sweet Lulu stretched out around two turns last month to win a second-level allowance at a mile by nearly five lengths.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Seven of the nine fillies entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Test Stakes at Saratoga are stakes winners. But it may be the horse who has never before run in a black-type event that proves the one to beat.

Sweet Lulu, dominant in three victories on the Southern California circuit, was shipped to Saratoga by Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer for her dirt and stakes debut in the seven-furlong Test. Carded as the ninth race, the Test is the first of four graded stakes on Saturday’s 14-race program and kicks off a pick four wager with a guaranteed pool of $1 million.

Sweet Lulu, a daughter of Mr. Greeley, overcame a bad start to win her debut at Betfair Hollywood Park on May 30 by 3 1/4 lengths. Four horses came out of that race to win. One month later, Sweet Lulu got through on the rail to win a first-level allowance race by 2 1/4 lengths. Last month, Sweet Lulu stretched out around two turns to win a second-level allowance at a mile by nearly five lengths.

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“She’s done everything I’ve asked her to do and done it well, so that’s why we’d like to try her in the Test,” Hollendorfer said. “The Test is a very important race for 3-year-old fillies, probably second to the Kentucky Oaks, so that’s why it’s important for us to either win or get a graded placing.”

Sweet Lulu will break from post 5 under Julien Leparoux, his lone mount on the card.

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My Happy Face, runner-up in the Coaching Club American Oaks at 1 1/8 miles, is turning back to seven furlongs. All six of her previous races have been around one turn, including a win in the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct and a head loss to Dreaming of Julia in the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at Belmont, both last fall.

Last summer, at Saratoga, My Happy Face won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 21 1/4 lengths. Breaking from post 8 in the nine-horse field, My Happy Face could attain a stalking position under Joel Rosario.

“She has a lot of class, this filly. She seems pretty versatile,” trainer Chad Brown said. “I don’t think she needs to be on the lead or up close. She can lay anywhere – she’ll adapt to the pace.”

Lighthouse Bay, coming off a Grade 1 victory in the Prioress at six furlongs here on July 27, attempts seven furlongs for the first time in her career. She won the Jostle Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs at Parx on June 8.

“I’m not sure she’s as good at seven furlongs as six furlongs,” said trainer George Weaver, who entered Friday’s card 9 for 30 at the meet. “I don’t really have any strong reason to believe she won’t handle it. I feel really good the way she’s bounced out of the race. We’ve had proper spacing. I feel like there’s plenty of juice still left in that lemon.”

Wildcat Lily, Irish Lute, and So Many Ways – the second- through fourth-place finishers from the Prioress – are back in the Test. Ju Ju Eyeballs, claimed for $15,000 in December, steps into a Grade 1 off of five consecutive victories for trainer Jason Servis.

I’m Mom’s Favorite, winner of the Miss Preakness in May, completes the field.