With nearly two weeks remaining in the month of July, the juvenile filly Fashion Alert already has two stakes win in the bag. The latest, a hard-fought score in the Grade 3, $247,000Schuylerville, kicked off the stakes action for the prestigious 40-day meet at Saratoga on Friday.
The 1-5 favorite in a field of five, Fashion Alert broke in and soundly bumped Evrybodymstgetstonz leaving the gate, but quickly recovered and pressed a :22 2/5 and :45 1/5 pace set by second choice Take Charge Brandi. The Schuylerville evolved into a two-horse race as the pair put distance between themselves and the rest of the field approaching the stretch.
Not much separated the two fillies until Fashion Alert gained the upper hand passing the eighth pole, and the daughter of Old Fashion went on to score by 1 1/2 lengths under John Velazquez in a time of 1:11 3/5 for six furlongs. She paid $2.40 to win.
"She's definitely very talented," said Velazquez, who tied fellow Hall of Famers Eric Guerin and Braulio Baeza with his fourth Schuylerville victory. "We wish we had a better break and got a better position at the first part. She kind of recuperated right away and got a good position going to the half-mile pole. From then on, I wanted to give her a little breather and see how she did, and down the lane she started leaning into the horse on the inside. Finally, she started getting away from her the last sixteenth of a mile."
Take Charge Brandi easily held second, 7 3/4 lengths in front of Tulira's Star, who was followed by Evrybodymstgetstonz and Mast Cove.
This was the fifth win in the Schuylerville for trainer Todd Pletcher, who trains Fashion Alert for George Bolton and Barry Hall. Pletcher trails only his mentor D. Wayne Lukas, who was seeking a seventh win in the race with Take Charge Brandi, for most victories in the Schuylerville by a trainer.
"I know that Wayne (Lukas) likes his filly a lot," Pletcher said. "They got into a prolonged speed duel. You could tell they were both getting a little tired but she showed some guts."
"We'll see how she comes out of it. I'm not going to rule out the Adirondack (August 10), but we'll likely wait for the Spinaway (August 31). It's pretty hard to win your first two, especially both in stakes, so you have to give her a lot of credit for that."
Boosting her career earnings to $250,000, Fashion Alert was following up on a debut win in the $100,000 Astoria at Belmont Park on June 14, which she won in wire-to-wire fashion by 4 3/4 lengths. That win was worth an extra $100,000 in bonus money in the Schuylerville, with the New York Racing Association offering that amount to any horse that broke their maiden during the spring meets at Aqueduct or Belmont who then go on to win a graded stakes on the NYRA circuit through December 31.
Bred by Mike Abraham and Jacob Nance in Kentucky, Fashion Alert sold for $125,000 at the Keeneland September sale. She's a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Renee's Titan having been reared by the Tiznow mare Titan Queen. The latter is herself a half-sister to Canadian Grade 2 winner Big Band Sound.
Also hailing from this extended family is Grade 1 winner Mining.