Who is the best Schuylerville Stakes winner?
Saratoga opens Thursday, July 15. The Schuylerville S. (G3) is the traditional opening-day feature, and 2021 is no different.
But before we look ahead at this year's rising-star two-year-old fillies, let's revisit some of the best Schuylerville winners, and then you tell us — who is the best Schuylerville winner of all time?
Though she didn't win a juvenile championship, Ashado was a very good two-year-old.
She romped in a sloppy Schuylerville, just her second start. Her debut win at Belmont Park was also over a sloppy track.
Her two-year-old season also included wins in the Spinaway S. (G1) and Demoiselle S. (G2). A championship looked possible midstretch in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), though Halfbridled kicked clear to win.
However, through ages three and four, Ashado was at the top of the game.
During her sophomore season, she won five stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks (G1), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), and she won the latter after a troubled trip. She was then named champion three-year-old filly.
At four, though the season started with a disappointing fifth, she went on to win three of her seven starts — the Ogden Phipps H. (G1), the Go For Wand H. (G1), and the Beldame S. (G1). Though she finished third in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, the only two horses ahead of her were such surprises (Pleasant Home and Society Selection) that Ashado was still named champion older mare.
If you don't follow horse racing, you may think of a cicada as a bug that emerges every 13 or 17 years and makes a lot of noise.
If you do follow horse racing, you know Cicada — a horse named after the Great Southern Brood of 13-year cicadas — as a force of nature.
She was a champion juvenile, after eight stakes wins, including the Schuylerville, Spinaway, and Frizette S. She was a champion at three, when she won some of the most iconic races for sophomore fillies — the Kentucky Oaks, the Acorn S., the Mother Goose S., and the Beldame. She even won an allowance against males to start her three-year-old season, and later was nosed out by Ridan in the Florida Derby.
The next year, she became the first American filly to win championships at ages two, three, and four. She won four of her eight starts at age four, all in stakes — the Vagrancy H., the Distaff H., the Sheepshead Bay H., and the Columbiana H.
Numbered Account (1971)
Numbered Account was a mare of rare quality, both on the track and in the breeding shed.
She had her best season at two, when she won seven stakes, including the Schuylerville, Spinaway, and Frizette, on her way to champion two-year-old filly.
Though she did not win a championship the next year — after Chris Evert swept the Acorn, Mother Goose, and Coaching Club American Oaks — Numbered Account was still top class at three. She won five races, including the Test S. and the Spinster S.
Though she did not win at four, she placed in both the Bed o' Roses H. (G2) and the Vagrancy.
During her breeding career, she produced Grade 1 winner and blue hen broodmare Dance Number, multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Private Account, stakes-placed sire Polish Numbers, and Grade 1 producer Secret Asset.
Though a fourth-place finish, behind Brave Raj, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies took her out of conversation for champion two-year-old filly, Sacahuista still had a very good juvenile season.
She won the Schuylerville in her third start of the year and went on to win the Adirondack S. (G2) and Oak Leaf S. (G1) that year, as well.
Though she did not begin her three-year-old season until late June, well after the Kentucky Oaks, Sacahuista did well to make up for lost time. Though she was disqualified from first to third in the Ruffian H. (G1), she conquered older horses in the Spinster and again in the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Hollywood Park. It was a strong enough résumé to earn champion three-year-old filly.
She was an excellent broodmare, as well, with her most important progeny including Gran Premio del Jockey Club (G1) winner Ekraar and Hussonet, who was only stakes-placed but went on to be an important sire in Chile and Australia.
Weekend Surprise (1982)
A daughter of the great Secretariat, Weekend Surprise had her best racing season at age two.
She broke her maiden on debut at Keeneland and went on to win the Schuylerville, the Pocahontas S., and the Golden Rod S. (G3).
Through her three-year-old and four-year-old seasons, she never won another graded stakes, though she hit the board in races like the Black-Eyed Susan S. (G2), La Canada S. (G1), and Santa Margarita H. (G1).
Where Weekend Surprise became a mare for the ages was in the breeding shed. Her progeny include champion A. P. Indy, Preakness S. (G1) winner Summer Squall, Dogwood S. (G3) victor Welcome Surprise, and successful stallions Honor Grades and Tiger Ridge.
Last week, we asked you to pick the best three-year-old male of 2021. And, with a resounding 88% of the vote, Essential Quality is not only the Belmont S. (G1) winner but also the people's champion!
The only other horse to get votes in the poll was sprint division leader Drain the Clock, so give him an honorable mention.