Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sweet Reason hopes to continue Spa success in G1 Test

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Contact: Sean Morris


Sweet Reason hopes to continue Spa success in G1 Test


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Dual Grade 1 winner Sweet Reason is back for more on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course when she headlines the 89th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs.


The Test is part of an 11-race card that features the Grade 1, $1.5 million Whitney, as well as the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt. The Longines Test and the Whitney will be telecast live on NBC from 4:30 to 6 p.m.


Sweet Reason is no stranger to Saratoga. The bay filly debuted at the Spa last summer, winning a 5 ½-furlong, off-the-turf maiden race by 6 ¼ lengths despite being 18 lengths behind the leader at the first point of call, and she then made her encore in winning the Grade 1, seven-furlong Spinaway.


The Leah Gyarmati trainee sat much closer to the pace in the Spinaway, only 3 ¾ lengths behind the leader after the first quarter-mile, but she displayed the same flourish in the stretch, drawing off to win by 5 ¾ lengths and earning a 98 Beyer Speed Figure.


Sweet Reason made her third career start in another Grade 1, the Frizette at Belmont Park, and finished an unlucky second to Artemis Agrotera. The daughter of Street Sense made her next start in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, where she finished fourth, beaten two lengths in her two-turn debut, while running without Lasix for the first time in her career.


After her string of three straight Grade 1 appearances as a juvenile, Sweet Reason commenced her sophomore campaign in an optional claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack, which she won by a half-length but was assigned a modest Beyer Speed Figure of 72. The classy filly failed to find her best form in her second start at 3, finishing a distant third in the Grade 2 Gazelle at Aqueduct.


In her latest start, the Grade 1 TVG Acorn, Sweet Reason recaptured the form she displayed at 2, taking the one-mile race by a half-length in late-running fashion. Perhaps as a sign that she's maintaining her form, Sweet Reason worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.36 seconds in her penultimate work for the Test.


"She's really turned a corner this year with her breezes," said Gyarmati, who trains Sweet Reason for Treadway Racing Stable. "She's never been this kind of work horse and now every time she works she's been right there. She's just growing up."


Back in familiar climes, Sweet Reason may be poised to take another step forward, according to Gyarmati.


"She's just doing better and she's happier," Gyarmati said. "She loves it here, so that should be a good sign for August 2, we hope."


Sweet Reason was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite, and will break from post 7 with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.


While most 3-year-old fillies are kept in races restricted to their own age, trainer Rusty Arnold took a different approach with his filly Southern Honey. Following consecutive victories in a maiden race and an optional claimer, Arnold sent out Southern Honey in the Grade 3, six-furlong Winning Colors for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.


The daughter of Travers winner Colonel John responded well to the challenge, winning by 1 ½ lengths over Socialbug, who was 3 ¼ lengths clear of third-place finisher Warm Breeze. For the effort, Southern Honey earned a field-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99.


Southern Honey, the 4-1 morning-line second choice, will break from post 5 with Julien Leparoux in the irons.


Another wickedly fast juvenile, Miss Behaviour, has returned in even better form at 3. As a 2-year-old, the daughter of Jump Start won the first three races of her career, culminating in a victory in the Grade 2 Matron at Belmont.


After suffering her first defeat in the Sharp Cat at Belmont and a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Delta Princess, the Phil Schoenthal trainee began her 3-year-old campaign with a third-place finish in the Stormy Blues Stakes on the turf at Pimlico.


In her second start as a sophomore, the bay filly returned to dirt and her best form in the Miss Preakness, winning by 1 ¾ lengths and earning a career-high 91 Beyer Speed Figure.


Miss Behaviour's most recent outing came in the Grade 3 Victory Ride, in which she chased a torrid pace and held on for second, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Test entrant Street Story.


"[The Victory Ride] is tough to gauge," said Schoenthal, who trains Miss Behaviour for Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum. "You want to give her an excuse because the pace was so fast, so maybe that's why she flattened out."


Seven furlongs presents a unique challenge to Miss Behaviour, who was been farther than 6 ½ furlongs only once in her career in the one-mile Delta Princess. Trying to coax an extra half-furlong out of his filly, Schoenthal has changed her training regimen leading up to the Test.


"She's sharp right now," said Schoenthal. "I spent the past month training her a lot harder than I normally do. I've been training her like a route horse, and she's responded well."


Miss Behaviour drew the outside post, 12, and Javier Castellano will be back aboard. She sits at 10-1 on the morning line.


Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out a pair of runners on Saturday in Sweet Whiskey and Red Velvet.


Sweet Whiskey won the Grade 3 Old Hat at Gulfstream Park to kick off her sophomore season, and was runner-up in the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland before finishing second to Sweet Reason in the Acorn.


The speedy Red Velvet won the Jersey Girl at Belmont by a dominant 5 ¾ lengths two starts ago, leading the field gate to wire. In her latest outing, the daughter of City Zip set the pace in the Victory Ride before fading to fourth in the stretch.


Sweet Whiskey, 6-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez from post 3, while Red Velvet sits at 12-1 on the morning line and will break from post 10 with Paco Lopez aboard.


Completing the field are graded stakes winners Fiftyshadesofgold and Street Story; stakes winners Little Alexis, Tea Time, and Thankyou Marylou; Grade 1 Mother Goose runner-up Princess Violet; and Bird Maker, 11 ¼-length winner of an optional claimer at Churchill Downs in her most recent start.



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