SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Phipps Stable homebred Vigilantes Way has already triumphed against graded stakes company in her 4-year-old campaign, and will seek to sustain that improvement in Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Diana at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the daughter of multiple champion-producing sire Medaglia d’Oro has finished in the money in three of her four starts this season, following a productive sophomore campaign where she went 7-4-1-1.
After running fifth in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River on January 23 at Gulfstream Park, Vigilantes Way stepped her game up off three month’s rest with a third in the Dahlia at Pimlico. She returned to the Maryland oval with vigor, despite a slow start, when finishing a late-closing second to Mean Mary in the Grade 3 Gallorette on May 15.
Vigilantes Way had a much improved trip in her next start, making the grade in the Grade 3 Eatontown on June 20 at Monmouth Park, where she was in the clear, tracking moderate fractions from the three path, and took command in upper stretch to win by 2 ¼ lengths.
“A horse broke in front of her and that’s why we were further back in the Gallorette,” McGaughey said. “We would have been right behind Mean Mary if that hadn’t happened, but I thought she ran a really good race. Mean Mary is a nice horse. Our horse came back really well, trained really well and when we went back to Monmouth, ran really well in winning a graded stake.”
McGaughey, who last captured the Diana with Duty Dance in 1986, said the 1 1/8-mile test will be a tall ask for his filly
“We’re in the deep water right now,” McGaughey said. “She’s trained excellent since her last race, and she got up here in good shape. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way she’s doing. It’s a big step up, but I think she deserves it.”
Vigilantes Way is out of the dual graded stakes placed Unbridled mare Salute, who also produced Grade 1-winner Mr. Speaker and Grade 1 steeplechase winner Snap Decision. Her second dam is undefeated Hall of Famer Personal Ensign.
Two races prior to the Diana, McGaughey will saddle graded stakes placed Ten for Ten in his 2021 debut. The gray or roan son of second crop sire Frosted was a narrow second to Brooklyn Strong last out in the Grade 2 Remsen on December 5 at Aqueduct after another runner-up finish in the Grade 3 Nashua on November 8 at the Big A. He broke his maiden by eight lengths in October over a sloppy and sealed main track at Belmont Park.
Owned by Donald and Donna Adam’s Courtlandt Farms, Ten for Ten is out of the Eskendereya mare Summer Vacation, a half-sister to prolific Grade 1-winner and producer Dream of Summer.
In Saturday’s task, a seven-furlong allowance sprint, Ten for Ten will face a salty field which includes dual graded stakes-placed Crowded Trade, as well as impressive maiden winners Witsel, Mahaamel and Beau Liam.
“He’s trained excellent,” McGaughey said. “He could need one. It’s a very, very difficult race. You’d never think an a-other-than would be what this race is. I want to get him started and I think he’s got a good future ahead of him.”
McGaughey enjoyed a prosperous tail end of the Belmont Park spring/summer meet, scoring off-the-turf allowance optional claiming wins with Star Command and Dreams of Tomorrow.
The conditioner said Star Command, a winner of her last two starts, will likely run through her next condition, while stakes-placed Dreams of Tomorrow targets the $120,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure on August 8.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Vigilantes Way won the G3 Eatontown Stakes at Monmouth June 20, 2021. (Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)