07/19/2013 12:01PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Schuylerville


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Friday’s featured Grade 3 Schuylerville Stakes is the first of three graded 2-year-old filly stakes at the Saratoga meeting, followed by the Grade 2 Adirondack Aug. 11 and the Grade 1 Spinaway Sept. 1. It has been won by champions such as Cicada, Numbered Account, La Prevoyante, and Ashado; the most recent Schuylerville winners to go on to a 2-year-old filly Eclipse were Meadow Star in 1990 and Countess Diana in 1997.

With 2-year-olds making later debuts and having much shorter campaigns than they once did, the race these days is dominated by second-time starters and the handicapper’s challenge is to compare the relative strengths of various winning maiden races. The choice in this year’s edition appears to be between two Churchill Downs graduates and whether you prefer Bahnah’s 6-length romp in her career debut June 6 or Brazen Persuasion’s 4 3/4-length victory in her second start June 29.

It’s a close call, but I prefer Bahnah. Her 4 1/2 furlongs in 51.17 translated to a Beyer speed Figure of 91, which would be good enough to win 9 of the last 10 Schuylervilles.There was another short race on that day’s Churchill card that seems to support the quality of Bahnah’s effort – an off-the-turf N3x allowance race for older males went in 57.69 for 5 furlongs.

Brazen Persuasion’s advantage is that she’s been the six furlongs of today’s race, the distance at which she earned an 83 Beyer in her maiden victory.

The others in the field appear a notch below the two Churchill fillies. The most promising of them is probably Yes Liz, a four-length winner of her debut at Belmont July 3 that earned a respectable Beyer of 72.

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