Ageless, Lady Shipman square off in Franklin County
A solid fourth in the Turf Sprint after running second in the Franklin County to returning rival Free as a Bird, Ageless enters off a bit of a freshener after bypassing last month's Presque Isle Downs Masters (G2), a race she ran third in a year ago.
"We decided to pass on that as she would have been giving a lot of weight and we wanted to come in here with a fresh horse," trainer Arnaud Delacour said.
As was the case in 2014, Ageless enters the Franklin County off wins in the $100,000 The Very One at Pimlico and the Royal North (G3) at Woodbine earlier in the season.
The horse they might all have to beat is Lady Shipman, the immensely talented three-year-old that has won eight of 10 outings, including her last four in succession. She won twice during the Saratoga meet, the latter against Free as a Bird, who has dropped four straight since kicking off her campaign with a stakes win at Gulfstream.
While Ageless and Lady Shipman possibly have the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in their sight, Shrinking Violet is looking to bounce back from one of the worst performances of her career, a 10-length drubbing in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint contested over ground arguably on the soft side of the posted good. The Wesley Ward-owned/trained mare ran third to Ageless in The Very One, but reached the winner's circle following the Monrovia (G2) and $92,000 Daisycutter H.
Other notables are Richies Sweetheart, last-out heroine of the $200,000 Turf Amazon H. at Parx, and Ekati's Phaeton, the Old Hat (G3) and Forward Gal (G2) winner from last winter.
(Ageless photo: WEG/Michael Burns Photography)