09/08/2015 6:09PM

Yonkers: Barn Doll headlines NY Sire Stakes finals

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Tom Berg
Barn Doll has finished first or second in 20 of 21 career starts.

There is a 3-year-old trotting filly racing Saturday at Yonkers Raceway in one of four $225,000 New York Sire Stakes Finals that has won 17 of 21 career starts and $560,650 in her career. While you may not have heard of Barn Doll, she is worthy of your attention.

Virtually unmentioned in discussions about the best in her division, Barn Doll has dominated the tough NY Sire Stakes circuit throughout her career. She has never ventured outside the state of New York yet still sits third on the 2015 national earnings leaderboard for her division (trailing Mission Brief and Wild Honey). That ranking is despite skipping all of the top “open” races, including the rich Hambletonian Oaks.  

It is impossible to say with certainty, but regular driver Jeff Gregory seems pretty sure she could go with the best in her division.

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“The only way I can judge is that she was handling Tony Alagna’s filly (Lock Down Lindy) pretty easily all summer and she went on to win an elimination of the Hambletonian Oaks,” said Gregory. “I’ve also had a lot of good horsemen tell me they think she is one of the three best in the country.”

Perhaps more amazing then her 81% career win rate is that Barn Doll isn’t even at her best on smaller tracks, which account for the lion’s share of her career starts. Racing in New York means competing mostly on half-mile and five-eighths ovals. She has only a handful of starts at Vernon (a seven-eighths track) where she has been able to let loose a bit.

“She really steps up on a big track,” said Gregory. “If someone would have whacked out some fractions in one of her races at Vernon, I probably could have gone a (1):51 mile.”

While we haven’t seen her bottom, Barn Doll may not have the opportunity to show it on the racetrack in 2015. The daughter of Conway Hall-Headintheclouds is not eligible to any of the remaining stakes in her division and would have to be supplemented.

Steven Pratt, who trains and co-owns the filly with Nancy Pratt and Purple Haze Stables, is not sure what the future holds for his prized pupil. He admitted to receiving offers for Barn Doll and said selling was a possibility. If she remains in his barn, Barn Doll will be turned out after her race on Saturday and be staked for her 4- and 5-year-old seasons.

“It’s been a good ride and we’ve been really fortunate,” said Pratt, who said a supplement to a top race is not likely in the cards. “The Breeders Crown cost $62,500. It is not realistic. We would have to finish third to break even.”

But just because Pratt is against supplementing, that has nothing to do with his opinion on the talent level of his filly. “Absolutely, without a question,” said Pratt on whether she could go with the best in her division. “She’ll show it next year on the mile tracks.”

Prior to any thoughts about the future, Barn Doll must successfully defeat a solid field of seven foes in Saturday’s fifth race. She starts from post five with Jewels In Hock, one of only two fillies to defeat her in 2015, just to her inside from post four with Jim Morrill, Jr slated to drive.

Jewels In Hock is having a strong year of her own with eight wins from 16 starts for trainer Linda Toscano. Her victory over Barn Doll, by a length, came at Yonkers on August 13.

“She has really never gone a bad race. In that race at Yonkers, Jimmy (Morrill) got away so cheap and I didn’t have much of a chance,” said Gregory on the soft fractions set by Jewels In Hock.

Another strong competitor could be Lady Winona, who is coming off a victory and was second in the Hudson Filly Trot at Yonkers two starts back. Unfortunately she’ll have her work cut out for her from post seven.

The trotting filly final kicks off the quartet of sophomore NY Sire Stakes finals on the card. Bedroomconfessions looks for her third straight win in the pacing filly division. Yonkers Trot champion Habitat goes for his fourth straight in the male trot. Betting Exchange, Rockin In Heaven and National Seelster hook up in the male pace.

First race post time is 7:10 p.m.

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