Sacred Wish in Good Order for G1 CCA Oaks

July 20, 2023

Sacred Wish breaks her maiden at second asking March 5 at Oaklawn Park (Coady Photography)

Pass the Champagne Likely To Contest G1 Ballerina

Dorth Vader Pointing Towards Rematch With Pretty Mischievous

Today’s Flavor Eyes $125K John Morrissey Handicap

Crimson Advocate Could Have One Start Before Breeders’ Cup

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Black Type Thoroughbreds, Swinbank Stables, Steve Adkisson, Christopher Dunn and Anthony Spinazzola’s graded stakes-placed Sacred Wish makes her return to the graded ranks in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks, a nine-furlong test for sophomore fillies, at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by George Weaver, the Not This Time dark bay arrives from a game runner-up effort to the streaking Sunset Louise in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on June 16 at Belmont Park. There, she made up ground from fourth position to challenge for the lead in the turn and kept on well down the lane to finish one length back of the winner. The effort garnered a career-best 82 Beyer Speed Figure.

Sacred Wish’s Belmont effort was her first since a distant ninth-place finish in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan on May 19 at Pimlico Race Course. Weaver said he was pleased to see the filly rebound nicely in her latest start.

“She’s training well and she’s had some nice works coming into this, so we’re looking forward to it,” said Weaver. “We were happy with her last race. The Black-Eyed Susan, we just drew a line through it. For whatever reason, she didn’t run her race, so we were glad she got back on track in the next race. She’s done well since then. She’s going to need to step her game up to win this, but we know she’s not that far off and she’s talented. She deserves a chance in here.”

Sacred Wish earned her graded placing when finishing a closing second to Affirmative Lady in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in April. She will return to two turns after running a one-turn mile last time, a move Weaver said should suit her.

“I think it will be fine,” said Weaver. “She performed fine in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and she kept coming at the end. I don’t think it will be an issue.”

Pass the Champagne pops a big victory in the Ruffian (G2) May 6 at Belmont Park (NYRA/Coglianese)

Weaver will look for more graded success later in the Saratoga meet with graded stakes-winner Pass the Champagne, who was last seen finishing an even fourth in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 10 going 1 1/16 miles at Belmont. Owned by R.A. Hill Stable, Black Type Thoroughbreds, Rock Ridge Racing, BlackRidge Stables and James F. Brown, the daughter of Flatter notched her first graded victory in May with a strong 5 1/2-length romp in the Grade 2 Ruffian going a one-turn mile at Belmont.

She worked five-eighths in 1:01.92 Thursday over the Saratoga main track and Weaver said he is likely to cut back the 5-year-old mare to sprinting in the seven-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Ballerina Handicap on August 26, a “Win and You’re In” for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Santa Anita Park.

“She’s doing well,” said Weaver. “We’re still hoping she has a Grade 1 in her. She’s been training well.”

Dorth Vader (inside) just misses to Pretty Mischievous in the Acorn (G1) June 9 at Belmont Park (NYRA/Coglianese)

Weaver also has a strong contender in the sophomore filly division in graded-stakes placed Dorth Vader, who finished second by a head to Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks victress Pretty Mischievous in the Grade 1 Acorn presented by Great Jones Distilling Co. on June 9 at Belmont.

A Florida homebred for John Ropes, Dorth Vader will now point to a rematch with Pretty Mischievous in the Grade 1, $500,000 Test on August 5 at the Spa.

“She’s doing well and we’re looking forward to running her there,” said Weaver. “She’s training well and she’s a good-feeling filly. I’ve been happy with her.”

Other stakes hopefuls at the Saratoga meet could include Reddam Racing’s New York-bred stakes-winner Today’s Flavor, who was last seen finishing a pacesetting fourth in the Grade 2 True North on June 10 at Belmont.

Weaver said the 5-year-old Laoban gelding will likely return to state-bred company next in the $125,000 John Morrissey Handicap sprinting six furlongs on August 10.

“We’ll kind of reset and go into the New York-bred stake,” said Weaver. “If he runs like the way he did over the winter, he’ll be very competitive there.”

Weaver also noted that R.A. Hill Stable, Swinbank Stables, Black Ridge Stables and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Crimson Advocate, winner of the Group 2 Queen Mary on June 21 at Royal Ascot, will be given a freshening with an eye to the fall and the Breeders’ Cup championships at Santa Anita.

Weaver said the daughter of Nyquist could have one potential start before an engagement at the Breeders’ Cup, slated for November 3 and 4 at Santa Anita Park. 

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