SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Graded stakes action for the 2022 meet at Saratoga Race Course kicks off with a field of nine juvenile fillies taking center stage on Opening Day Thursday in the Grade 3, $175,000 Schuylerville.
The six-furlong test over the main track features eight fillies who enter off a career debut maiden special weight triumph and will also see the return of legendary Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who will saddle royally-bred Summer Promise in attempt of a record seventh Schuylerville conquest. The six-time leading trainer at the Spa is currently on even terms with former protégé and fellow Hall of Fame inductee Todd Pletcher.
Owned by BC Stables, Summer Promise was a five-length debut winner going five furlongs on June 25 at Churchill Downs. Hustled out of the gate from the rail, the Uncle Mo filly garnered early command and extended her advantage throughout, producing a 69 Beyer Speed Figure.
“She was in the one-hole and a first time starter in the one-hole is never a good situation, but she handled it very well,” said Lukas. “They outbroke her by a half a stride or so, but she got into it really well. We never had any doubts that she was going to run a big race. She trained so forwardly and really done everything well. I didn’t know that she was going to win, but I did know that she would run a super nice race. She showed too much in the mornings.”
Acquired for $500,000 by Lukas from the Taylor Made Sales consignment at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Summer Promise is out of Grade 1-winning millionaire Dream of Summer, who also produced half-siblings by Giant’s Causeway in Grade 1-winners Creative Cause and Vexatious, as well as graded stakes winner Destin.
“She matched the pedigree,” Lukas said. “She had a good top line, and she was a nice balanced filly; not overly big, just a nice-sized, and very correct horse. She fit all of our parameters for what we like in a yearling.”
Lukas previously won the Schuylerville with Sacuhuista , Over All , Wonder Delight , Golden Attraction , Magicalmysterycat  and Classic Elegance .
Luis Saez, last year’s leading rider at the Spa, has the call from post 9.
Hall of Famer Mark Casse will saddle two first-out winning fillies and one maiden in pursuit of his second Schuylerville victory in Tracy Farmer’s Adora, D.J. Stable’s Me and My Shadow, and Janis Joplin, owned by Gary Barber.
Adora, a $450,000 purchase at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Yearling Sale, graduated at first asking on May 14 over Woodbine’s Tapeta surface. The Into Mischief bay captured her debut outing by 4 3/4 lengths, defeating next-out winning stablemate Cahira’s Blessing.
Boasting a rich pedigree, Adora was bred in Ontario by Sam-Son Farm and is out of the dual stakes-winning Speightstown mare Southern Ring. Her fourth dam Radiant Ring was a graded stakes winner and 2003 Canadian Broodmare of the Year.
“She was bought at Saratoga for a large amount of money,” said Casse, who won the 2018 Schuylerville with Catherinethegreat. “She trained really well into her first race and ran really well. The question for her is going to be how she handles the dirt. Her pedigree has some grass influences which always works well on the Tapeta.”
Me and My Shadow, purchased for $185,000 at the 2021 Keeneland September Sale, was a debut four-length winner on May 28 over the Tapeta at Woodbine. The daughter of Violence produced a field-best 78 Beyer from her last out win. She is the first offspring out of the Smart Strike mare Silhouette, whose fourth dam, Passing Mood, produced 1997 Belmont Stakes winner Touch Gold and 1993 Canadian Triple Crown winner With Approval.
“With both her and Adora, it’s going to be a matter of how they can take their form to the next level,” Casse said.
Casse also sends out the lone maiden in the field in Gary Barber’s Janis Joplin. The daughter of California Chrome was a late-closing third in a restricted maiden special weight on June 29 at Churchill Downs after breaking a step slow from the gate.
Dylan Davis will pilot Adora from post 3, while Tyler Gaffalione has been tasked aboard Me and My Shadow from post 6. Flavien Prat will ride Janis Joplin from post 5.
Trainer Butch Reid, Jr. will ship Vedareo by way of Parx Racing after a two-length win on June 14 the Bensalem oval. The Swilcan Stable-owned dark bay daughter of Daredevil is a half-sister to 2020 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Vequist, who also was trained by Reid, Jr.
“She looks a lot like her big sister Vequist, a tall, rangy filly and almost all black,” Reid, Jr. said. “She acts a lot like her too in the early stages of her career. She’s a very smart filly and does everything well, so we’re excited.”
With a maiden win in the rearview mirror, Vedareo is already one step ahead of where her champion older sister was at this stage. During Vequist’s 2-year-old season in 2019, she shipped to Saratoga as a maiden to capture the Grade 1 Spinaway two starts before winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Keeneland.
Reid, Jr. credited Dr. Barry Eisaman, who oversaw Vedareo’s pretraining in Ocala, Florida, for keeping the young filly in good shape.
“We made sure we broke our maiden before we came up,” Reid, Jr. said. “She was really, really ready early and came around pretty quickly. Barry Eisaman did a great job with her down on the farm. She came up and all I had to do was put the finishing touches on her and she was ready to go.”
Joel Rosario will pick up the mount from post 4.
Clarkland Farm homebred Just Cindy enters off a 2 1/4-length debut win on June 17 at Churchill Downs for trainer Eddie Kenneally. The daughter of first crop sire and 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify produced a 70 Beyer for her triumphant first start.
Three-time Spa leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 1.
Two years after capturing the Schuylerville with Dayoutoftheoffice, Ohio-based conditioner Timothy Hamm will send up Motown Mischief. The Malibu Moon filly, owned by Ramspring Farm and Blazing Meadows Farm, enters off a one-length debut win on May 31 over the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs.
Junior Alvarado, who piloted Dayoutoftheoffice in the 2020 Schuylerville, will join forces with Hamm once more and will guide Motown Mischief from post 7.
Completing the field are Sweet Harmony [post 2, John Velazquez], and Musicmansandy [post 8, Manny Franco].
Inaugurated in 1918, the Schuylerville honors a neighboring town located just 12 miles east of Saratoga Springs. The Schuylerville is carded as Race 9 in the 10-race Opening Day program at the Spa, which also will include the $135,000 Wilton for sophomore fillies going one mile out of the revitalized Wilson Chute in Race 7. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present daily coverage and analysis of the summer meet at Saratoga Race Course on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet every race of the summer meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Saratoga Logo