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Homeracing

Mrs McDougal prospers on cutback in trip in Lake George

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 24th, 2015

Appearing not to stay the 1 1/4-mile trip in the May 30 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita, Mrs McDougal benefited to a return to 1 1/16 miles in Friday's $200,000 Lake George (G2) on opening day at Saratoga. The turf event for three-year-old fillies turned into a sit-and-sprint, and that suited the Chad Brown trainee well. Sweeping from midpack on the outside, the 9-2 chance collared pace factors Feathered and Cara Marie in a final time of 1:41.52.

Of course, that pokey pace scenario also compromised the chances of a few others, most notably Partisan Politics, the better fancied Brown runner who was bet down to 2-1 favoritism. The Lake George promised to have an honest tempo -- until the scratch of Lady Zuzu. The rail-drawn Celestine also figured to be prominent early, but she too was withdrawn.

In their absence, Feathered got away with leisurely fractions of :24.95, :49.02 and 1:12.93 on the firm Mellon turf. Cara Marie, who was taking a big class hike off a minor stakes win at Indiana Downs, attended the leader before throwing down her challenge in midstretch.

Meanwhile, Partisan Politics was in a poor tactical position. Usually not as far back, her hand was likely forced by the fact that she was drawn on the far outside. Regular rider Javier Castellano tried to minimize ground loss by making a beeline diagonal move toward the inside in the opening strides. That came at the cost of dropping further back, however. She had only one behind her, fellow Brown trainee Sivoliere, who stumbled at the start.

Mrs McDougal was hung out wide throughout. While she lost ground, she raced within a closer striking range than the favorite. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gave her the cue to improve rounding the far turn, and she took off down the lane to earn her first stakes victory.

Partisan Politics also took off late and rattled home for an eye-catching fourth, just failing to catch Feathered and Cara Marie in a blanket finish. With a better post, she probably would have enjoyed better early position. In any event, a stronger early pace would have helped her cause more than Mrs McDougal. That's worth remembering when we come to the Lake Placid (G2) on August 14.

Runner-up Feathered had the run of the race on the front end, but she still deserves credit for boxing on gamely under high weight of 123 pounds. She was spotting Mrs McDougal six, and Cara Marie eight. This marks the third gallant second of her career, following last fall's Starlet (G1) to Take Charge Brandi and the American Oaks to Spanish Queen.

English shipper Jellicle Ball ran better than appears in sixth. Nestled on the inside early, she never really saw daylight. That's not to say she was unlucky -- John Velazquez never had to stop riding, and she found a seam if she'd been quick enough to knife through it. But from a psychological perspective, Jellicle Ball could have been a bit uneasy (or uncertain about?) trying to quicken among foes. From her European background, she may have felt still "covered up" and awaiting a greater feeling of openness before leveling off in earnest. We'll know more when she makes her second start for Graham Motion.

Mrs McDougal's scorecard stands at 5-3-0-0, $212,880, amassed exclusively on turf. Unraced at two, the bay captured her debut at Gulfstream February 4 and took two starts to clear her entry-level allowance condition, that coming at Aqueduct April 24. She made her stakes premiere in the American Oaks, where she pressed the pace set by Feathered but weakened to fourth. Mrs McDougal turned the tables under different conditions here.

Bred by Aaron and Marie Jones in Kentucky, Mrs McDougal brought $450,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is by Medaglia d'Oro and out of the fine sprinter Distorted Passion, a multiple stakes winner and Grade 2-placed mare by Distorted Humor.

Mrs McDougal photo by Bob Newell/Horsephotos.com.

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