Sweet Loretta Aims for Grade I in Spinaway

Sweet Loretta

By Frank Angst, courtesy of Blood-Horse

After rolling to victories in her first two starts, Sweet Loretta will try for a top-level score in the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 3 at Saratoga Race Course.

Following a maiden special weight debut score by seven lengths in June at Monmouth Park, St. Elias Stable's Sweet Loretta delivered a similar performance in her stakes debut when the daughter of Tapit drew off to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) July 22 at Saratoga. Sweet Loretta rallied in both starts, coming back from sixth place and 7 1/2 lengths out of it early in the Schuylerville.

After winning a five-furlong test in her debut and then taking the six-furlong Schulerville, Sweet Loretta will stretch out to seven furlongs for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Spinaway. For the first time, she is scheduled to start from the rail in an expected field of seven juvenile fillies, where she is assigned high weight of 122 pounds, two to six more than her rivals.

One of those rivals is also a daughter of leading sire Tapit: John Oxley's Pretty City Dancer. She also showed an ability to close when she rallied from eighth and drew off to a 3 1/4-length score in the six-furlong Deubtante Stakes (gr. III) July 2 at Churchill Downs. Pretty City Dancer is trained by Mark Casse.

While Sweet Loretta and Pretty City Dancer have shown an ability to rally, Runway Doll may be the filly to catch Saturday after waltzing to a front-end victory by 13 1/2 lengths in her maiden special weight debut July 31 on a sloppy Saratoga surface. Trained by new Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen for Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt and Bobby Flay, the daughter of Majestic Warrior has completed three works at Saratoga since that head-turning debut.

Another filly who figures to go early is Gainesway Stable's Cherry Lodge, also trained by Pletcher. The daughter of Bernardini led at every point of call in her maiden special weight debut win Aug. 17 at Saraotga. Gainesway is the breeder of Pretty City Dancer.

The field also features Schuylerville runner-up Fun and stakes-placed You Know Too, as well as maiden Special Risk.

The Spinaway is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race for the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, awarding the winner a guaranteed berth at Santa Anita.