BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Dorth Vader and Munnys Gold continue to battle at the top of their class Saturday at Saratoga Race Course when the Florida-bred fillies take on 9-5 morning line favorite Pretty Mischievous in the Grade 1 Test. A field of eight 3-year-old fillies will vie for the winner’s share of the $500,000 purse in the seven-furlong contest.
Florida-bred Dorth Vader – Coady Photo
Dorth Vader just missed her first Grade 1 victory in her last race when she finished second, a head shy of Pretty Mischievous in the Grade 1 Acorn at a mile-and-a-sixteenth at Belmont Park on June 9. That was her first start from the barn of current trainer George Weaver and first race since finishing fifth in the Grade 1 Longines Kentucky Oaks at a mile-and-an-eighth, also won by Pretty Mischievous, at Churchill Downs on May 5.
Dorth Vader first gained notoriety at Gulfstream Park on March 4 when she won the Grade 2 Davona Dale by four-and-three-quarter lengths after a mile-and-a-sixteenth at odds of 46-1 before finishing fourth, just two-and-a-half lengths shy of winner Affirmative Lady in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks at a mile-and-an-eighth on April 1.
Owned and bred by John Ropes, Dorth Vader is by Girvin out of Hardcore Candy, by Yonaguska and looks to improve on her career record of four wins with a second and a third in 10 starts. She has lifetime earnings of $473,758.
John Velazquez, who rode Dorth Vader for the first time in the Acorn, gets the return mount and they will depart from post six.
Dorth Vader is 6-1 on the morning line.
Despite her fourth-place in the Acorn, Munnys Gold has been labeled the 7-2 third choice in the program.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Robert E. and Lawana Low, Munnys Gold was undefeated in her first three starts including a 14 ½ length romp against special weight maidens going five furlongs at Monmouth Park in June of last year.
She was given the rest of 2022 off before returning on Jan. 25 to win a first level allowance race by six-and-a-quarter lengths going six furlongs against state-bred fillies at Gulfstream Park. She then dominated state-bred rivals again in the $100,000 Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies, winning by 17 ¼ lengths over seven furlongs at Tampa Bay downs on Florida Cup Day, March 26.
She was a head slower than winner Red Carpet Ready when second in the Grade 2 Eight Belles going seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on May 5 before the aforementioned Acorn.
Munnys Gold is by Munnings out of Haraawa, by Medaglia d’Oro and was bred in Florida by Nicksar Farms. With a career record of three wins with a second in five starts, Munnys Gold has earned $254,900.
Irad Ortiz Jr., who has ridden Munnys Gold in each of her last four races, will again be aboard and they have drawn post seven.
In addition to her victories in the Acorn and Kentucky Oaks, Pretty Mischievous also won the $100,000 Untappable on Dec. 26 and the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra on Feb. 18, both at Fair Grounds. Her only loss this year came when second to Southlawn in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks on March 25 after bobbling at the start.
Pretty Mischievous is by Into Mischief out of Pretty City Dancer, by Tapit and she has won six of eight career starts with a second and third while banking $1,481,560.
Tyler Gaffalione has the return mount and they will break from post one.
Second on the morning line at 2-1 is the undefeated Maple Leaf Mel from the barn of trainer Melanie Giddings.
After breaking her maiden by five lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 10 of last year going six furlongs, the daughter of Cross Fire won the $194,000 Seeking the Ante over a sloppy six-and-a-half furlongs at Saratoga 16 days later to finish her 2-year-old campaign. In three starts this year, Maple Leaf Mel has won the $100,000 East View at Aqueduct on March 24, the Grade 3 Miss Preakness at Pimlico on May 19 and the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont Park on July 8.
Maple Leaf Mel will race in the colors of August Dawn Farm and Joel Rosario, who has ridden her in every race, will be aboard again.
Maple Leaf Mel has the outside post eight.
The remainder of the field includes Clearly Unhinged with jockey Javier Castellano, Tappin Josie with Kevin Gomez up, Jersey Pearl has Luis Saez named to ride and Interpolate, who will be ridden by Flavien Prat.