Soul of an Angel Doing Well Ahead of G1 Ogden Phipps

May 25, 2024

Soul of an Angel wins big in the Ruffian (G2) May 4 at Aqueduct (Joe Labozzetta)

G2 Suburban Possible for Skippylongstocking

The Queen’s M G Likely To Contest Astoria

Kingston Could Be Next for Saratoga Flash

Mystic Lake Under Consideration for G3 Victory Ride

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. has multiple contenders under consideration for the lucrative Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, headlined by Soul of an Angel in the nine-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Ogden Phipps presented by Ford on June 8 Belmont Stakes Day, at Saratoga Race Course.

C Two Racing Stable and Agave Racing Stable’s Soul of an Angel ran the best performance of her 36-start career last-out in the one-mile Grade 2 Ruffian on May 4 at Belmont at the Big A. There, the 5-year-old Atreides mare traveled 7 1/2-lengths back before steadily advancing and flying by the pacesetting Grade 1-winner Randomized in the stretch to win by 4 3/4-lengths.

Soul of an Angel has worked twice since the effort, including a half-mile in 47 seconds flat on May 24 at the Palm Meadows Training Center.

“She is doing well. She’s going to run in the Ogden Phipps,” said Joseph, Jr. “Obviously, she ran well [last-out]. She’s a filly that’s kind of run some really good races before and for her to break through in that Grade 2– we had just purchased her– it was very gratifying.”

Previously, Soul of an Angel finished sixth in the Grade 2 Azeri at Oaklawn Park and second in the Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park, in March and February, respectively, both when in the barn of Gerald James.

Joseph, Jr. added that he hopes Soul of an Angel runs a big race in a tough field that may feature last year’s Champion Older Dirt Female Idiomatic.

“She has to improve again in the Ogden Phipps. It’s going to be a tougher race. You got Idiomatic in there to take care of,” said Joseph, Jr. “We’re going to give it a shot. You can’t have it unless you are in it.”

Daniel Alonso’s multiple graded stakes-winner Skippylongstocking, who finished third in the 2022 Belmont Stakes, may return to Belmont Stakes Day action in the Grade 2, $350,000 Suburban, a 10-furlong test for older horses.

The 5-year-old Exaggerator bay has won his last two starts in April’s Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap at its namesake course and Tampa Bay Down’s Grade 3 Challenger in March. He earned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure in the nine-furlong Oaklawn Handicap, and Joseph, Jr. believes options are open at longer distances down the line, including the 1 1/4-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Del Mar.

“We’re going to nominate there [the Suburban]. There’s a possibility he could run there, we’re going to decide this week,” Joseph, Jr. said. “The [Breeders’ Cup] Classic at the end of the year is 10 furlongs. We’d like to run him 10 furlongs, and timing-wise this works out pretty good, just want to keep our options open and see where we are at.

“We are going to decide this week. If not, he will definitely run during the Saratoga meet,” added Joseph, Jr.

Last November, Skippylongstocking was third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita Park.

A new addition to Joseph, Jr.’s barn is 2-year-old filly The Queen’s M G, who is likely to contest the 5 1/2 furlong, $150,000 Astoria on June 6 at Saratoga.

The Thousand Words dark bay won her lone start when launching a 46-1 upset over next-out Kentucky Juvenile winner West Memorial in a 4 1/2-furlong sprint on April 7 at Keeneland when in the care of Israel Acevedo.

She has worked three times since the effort, including a three-furlong breeze in 36.04 on May 19 at Gulfstream Park and a half-mile in 47.97 Saturday.

“She’s a private purchase. She came back and worked well. I’m excited to see her run,” said Joseph, Jr. “The filly that she beat there came back to win a stake at Churchill. That obviously made the form look pretty good.”

Dailey Double Racing’s New York-bred Saratoga Flash has competed in two turf stakes events this year at Gulfstream Park, finishing fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Canadian Turf ahead of a head-defeat to the well-regarded Smokin’ T in the one-mile Listed Appleton last-out on March 30.

Joseph, Jr. said the 6-year-old Laoban gelding may next appear in the 1 1/16-mile $125,000 Kingston when New York-breds take center stage for a special New York Showcase Day on June 9 during the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival.

C2 Racing Stable LLC and Stefania Farms’ Mystic Lake was a last-out 4 1/2 length winner of the six-furlong Grade 3 Miss Preakness on May 17 at Pimlico Race Course. The Florida-bred Mo Town dark bay made the grade after past stakes wins at Tampa Bay Downs in the Gasparilla in January and Sophomore Fillies in March.

Joseph, Jr. said she is under consideration for the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 3, $175,000 Victory Ride on July 4 at Belmont at the Big A.

Jonathan Stettin is a New York Legend. He's been a Horseplayer, earning his living at the track, since he was 19 years old. @jonathanstettin

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