Sweet Loretta runs away in Schuylerville
Rating behind a hot pace of :21.68 and :44.79 set by Inspired Flight, Sweet Loretta made a five-wide bid in upper stretch under John Velazquez, seized the lead around the eighth pole and drew off convincingly to score by 4 1/4 lengths in a time of 1:10.89 on a fast track. Owned by St Elias Stable, Sweet Loretta returned $10.80.
Fun, a 22-1 longshot trained by Ian Wilkes, rallied for the place over Harlands Thunder, a Bill Mott filly coming off a sixth-place effort in the $197,000 Astoria at Belmont. Made Me Shiver, the 17-10 favorite, finished fourth in the field of eight.
A debut winner by seven lengths at Monmouth Park on June 18, Sweet Loretta was the second two-year-old filly purchased for $750,000 as a Keeneland November weanling to prevail on the opening day program at Saratoga, coming an hour or so after Bowie's wire-to-wire score for Steve Asmussen at first asking.
Bred in Kentucky by Ashview Farm and Colts Neck Stables, Sweet Loretta is a daughter of Tapit and the stakes-placed Ithinkisawapudycat, a Bluegrass Cat half-sister to Canadian champion juvenile filly Spring in the Air.
"She came to us early at Palm Beach Downs and she showed some quality," Pletcher said. "When she was getting ready to run, we felt like she was doing well at Palm Beach Downs so we sent her to the team in Monmouth. They did a great job with her.
"We didn't know what she ran against [in her maiden race] at Monmouth but we liked the way she did it. She looked like she did it with something in reserve but we knew this was a big step up in class. I told Johnny [Velazquez] in the paddock, 'I don't think she's as quick as some of these other fillies, just don't rush her off her feet. Give her a chance to get her legs underneath her.' It actually probably worked in her favor that she didn't break well. They went fast early but she ran professionally; she ran into the dirt well. She kept gaining ground in the early part of the race and put herself in a good position coming off the turn."
(NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)