Although the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes will be run a Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York Friday, more than half the field was bred in Florida. Seven fillies and mares are set to go postward in the seven furlong Ballerina Stakes (G1) including All Due Respect, Belle of the Hall, Turbulent Descent and Derwin’s Star, who represent the Sunshine State breeders.
Turbulent Descent may be the one to beat, especially if she runs as well as she did in winning the $72,000 Desert Stormer Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park Jun. 17. Although she broke in and bumped Great Hot at the start of that race, Turbulent Descent rallied around the far turn, took command at the sixteenth pole and won by a length and-a-half. Adding to the quality of the victory, Turbulent Descent hit the wire in 1:09.25 for the six furlongs and was assigned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure. Although Ballerina foes All Due Respect and It’s Tricky also have 104 Beyer numbers on their resume, All Due Respect hit the standard two years ago while winning a Betfair Hollywood Park optional claiming race and It’s Tricky hit the 104 mark last year when she took the Acorn Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
Also adding to the popularity potential of Turbulent Descent among the wagering public is that she will be saddled by Todd Pletcher, the leading trainer at the Saratoga meeting by a wide margin. Bred in Florida by Ocala Stud, Turbulent Descent will be racing in the colors of Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor. John Velazquez Jr. will ride the 4-year-old filly from post six.
Breaking just to the outside of Turbulent Descent in post seven, Derwin’s Star is looking to improve on her last race when she was seventh in the Molly Pritcher Stakes (G2) at Monmouth Park July 29. Trainer Steve Klesaris is hoping the 5-year-old daughter of Journeyman Stud stallion Wildcat Heir will return to the form she had when Derwin’s Star won the Grade 3 Bed of Roses Handicap at Belmont Park on Jul. 1. Bred in Florida by Woodsfield Farm in Citra, Derwin’s Star now races for Marcia Cohen in partnership with Klesaris. Jockey David Cohen will be in the irons.
Breaking further to the inside in the Ballerina is Belle of the Hall who races for Terry Finley’s West Point Thoroughbreds of Mount Laurel, N.J. Belle of the Hall has had two nice races in her last two starts in which she finished fourth in both, but was closer to winner that one might expect from such a placing. In the Vagrancy Handicap (G2) at Belmont Jun. 2, Belle of the Hall was beaten only three and one-half lengths then came back in the Honorable Miss Handicap Aug. 3 at Saratoga where she was only two lengths behind Florida-bred winner C C’s Pal. Trainer Tom Albertrani will give the leg up on number four Belle of the Hall to jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.
All Due Respect breaks from post two and is another looking to improve on her recent races. Bred in Florida by Lau-Mor Farm of Ocala, All Due Respect was sixth in the Voodoo Dancer Stakes at Belmont Park on Jul. 8 and before that eighth against optional claimers at Gulfstream Park. Bred in Florida by Edward Leon and Do Little Farms, Belle of the Hall is a daughter of Graeme Hall who stands at Eugene Melnyk’s Winding Oaks Farm in Ocala. She is trained by Richard Dutrow Jr. for Paul Pompa Jr. and Taylor Brothers Properties and All Due Respect last won at Gulfstream in November when the 5-year-old mare won the $60,000 Ocala Stakes.
Expected to garner her share of the mutual support, It’s Tricky breaks from post three and will be trying to win her fourth consecutive stake. She won the Top Flight Handicap (G2) and Distaff Handicap, two Grade 2 races at Aqueduct before winning the Ogden Phipps Handicap (G1) at Belmont in May. Kiaran McLaughlin trains It’s Tricky for Goldolphin Racing LLC of Dubai, U.A.E.
Photo by Benoit