08/22/2013 3:16PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Ballerina


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The Ballerina Stakes, Friday’s feature at Saratoga, is one of just a handful of Grade 1 races each year for older female sprinters and thus presents a rare opportunity to enhance a broodmare’s value with even a second- or a third-place finish. So don’t assume every longshot is necessarily a well-meant sneaky contender – more so than in other races, a lot of the outsiders are there on a slim hope of snagging a minor award.

I’ll be playing it as a three-horse race, as I think there’s a trio that stands out above the rest: Dance to Bristol, Book Review, and Judy the Beauty.

Dance to Bristol is one of the neatest horses in training, with six straight victories and a fabulous career record of 16 first- or second-place finishes in 17 starts. She was gallant winning the Honorable Miss last time out, splitting horses late and getting up by a desperate neck. I’ll be rooting for her, but can’t be as confident this time because she has drawn the rail in a field of 11 and traffic could be more difficult to overcome.

Book Review ran well here last year and has been as good or better since relocating to California and training under Bob Baffert. She likes the track here, is making her second start off a layoff and a successful return, and figures to run well.

Judy the Beauty has been the runner-up in Grade 1 races here the last two summers, finishing second to Grace Hall as a 2-year-old in the 2011 Spinaway and second to Emma’s Encore at 3 in the Prioress. She was second in the Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder last time out after a horrendous start and may be in career-best form as she tries the Spa for a third time.

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