SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Graded-stakes winners Envoutante and Bonny South have competed against the best in their division over the past couple of years. On Friday, both 5-year-old mares will enjoy class relief as they co-headline a field of seven in the $135,000 Summer Colony at Saratoga Race Course.
The nine-furlong test restricted to older fillies and mares yet to win a graded stake this year will see Walking L Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Envoutante and Juddmonte’s homebred Bonny South face each other for the sixth time in their careers, dating back to the Grade 1 Ashland in July 2020 at Keeneland where the two mares ran a respective third and fourth. Envoutante has come out on the winning end against Bonny South in the past two runnings of the Grade 2 Falls City at Churchill Downs, winning by six lengths on both occasions.
Envoutante, trained by Kenny McPeek, captured her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks in September 2020 following a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Alabama behind stablemate Swiss Skydiver. The Uncle Mo dark bay comes into the Summer Colony off a five-month respite, having finished a distant fourth in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile on March 5 at Santa Anita in her most recent outing.
“The trip itself was hard on her. She came out of it with some bone bruising and upon the recommendation of Dr. [Larry] Bramlage [of Rood and Riddle Equine], we turned her out,” said Scott Leeds of Walking L Thoroughbreds. “We actually bred her to Quality Road, but she did not get pregnant. So, when the 60 days were up, Dr. Bramlage looked at her again, and he thought she looked good to go back to the track. She’s been training up there at Saratoga since late June and she’s been just lights out.”
Envoutante finished fifth in last year’s Grade 1 Spinster, where Bonny South was third. Leeds said the Summer Colony is a good prep for a return engagement in the nine-furlong test on October 9 at Keeneland.
“This is a great spot. I think that race serves good purpose for a horse that’s had an extended layoff, and it’s a perfect spot to come back and get her feet under her and get back and ready for a fall campaign,” Leeds said. “She likes about a six-week spacing, that’s where she’s had the best results. Right at that six-week mark is the Spinster at Keeneland, so I think that’s a logical choice after this one.”
Envoutante boasts an overall record of 17-6-2-4 with earnings of $961,658, but a victory in the Summer Colony would make her the newest member of racing’s million-dollar club.
“That would be very appropriate for her,” Leeds said. “As close as she’s got, I think she’s run so well, been so close, and ran competitively in Grade 1 races throughout her career. I think winning a million dollars would solidify her career as something special. But really, at this point, she’s showing us that she is not ready to hang around the barn with the other broodmares and wants to be at the track. We’re giving her the opportunity to do that so we’re excited to see what she can do this fall.”
Julien Leparoux will pick up the mount aboard Envoutante from post 3.
Bonny South has made her last 14 starts at the graded level. The Summer Colony will mark her first start in a non-graded race since February 2020, where she defeated stablemate and subsequent Kentucky Oaks winner Shedaresthedevil in a first-level allowance optional claimer at Oaklawn Park.
Trained by Brad Cox, the Munnings chestnut boasts field-best earnings of $1,074,600 and a consistent record of 17-4-7-1. Her career highlights are victories in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks in March 2020 and the Grade 3 Doubledogdare last April at Keeneland. She enters the restricted nine-furlong test for older fillies and mares off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher on July 23 at Monmouth Park, where she finished 4 3/4 lengths in arrears of Search Results.
Last year saw Bonny South garner Grade 1 black type behind eventual Champion Older Mare Letruska on three occasions over as many racetracks. Two starts after finishing second in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park, she completed the exacta once more in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at the Spa before finishing third in the Grade 1 Spinster at Keeneland.
Hailing from deep Juddmonte legacy, Bonny South is out of the Tapit mare Touch the Star, whose dam Willstar produced Group 1 winner Etoile Montante. Grade 1-winning millionaire Obligatory is also a prominent member of the family.
Bonny South will break from post 7 and will receive the riding services of jockey Flavien Prat.
Two other Summer Colony aspirants also arrive off an effort in the Molly Pitcher, including William Schwartz’s Pennsylvania-bred Leader of the Band for trainer John Servis. The daughter of the late leading Mid Atlantic sire Bandbox was a narrow winner of the Lady’s Secret on June 11 at Monmouth Park before her runner-up effort in the Molly Pitcher. A two-time winner this year, Leader of the Band earned her first stakes conquest in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks last July.
Two-time winning Summer Colony rider Joel Rosario will pilot Leader of the Band from post 4.
Trainer Mike Maker will saddle two-time graded stakes winner Army Wife, who finished third in the Molly Pitcher. Owned by Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm, the well-traveled Declaration of War bay has secured all five of her victories over different racetracks, including triumphs in last year’s Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico and the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows.
Two starts ago, she won the Lady Jacqueline on June 25 at Thistledown, defeating multiple graded-stakes winner Crazy Beautiful by three-quarters of a length.
Tyler Gaffalione will ride Army Wife, who will leave from post 1.
Completing the field are Misty Veil [post 2, Trevor McCarthy], First to Act [post 5, Irad Ortiz, Jr.] and Exotic West [post 6, Javier Castellano].
The Summer Colony, which honors the late Edward P. Evans’ six-time graded stakes-winning millionaire, is slated as Race 8 on Friday’s 10-race card, which also features the $150,000 Skidmore for juveniles sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass in Race 10. 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
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Main photo: Envoutante winning last year’s edition of the G2 Falls City, her second consecutive win in the race (Coady Photography)