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Alonso Quinonez celebrates his win in the Ballerina aboard Intangaroo.
The graded stakes action at Saratoga for Travers weekend closed out with the $250,000 Ballerina Stakes (G1) on Sunday afternoon. A field of eight 3-year-old fillies went to post in this 7 furlong main track sprint before a crowd of 20,132, with Sugar Swirl sent off as the 2-1 favorite having won 4 of her 5 starts so far in 2008, including the Scotzanna at Woodbine last time out. In to challenge the Frank Stronach homebred include 3-1 second choice Mistical Plan, winner of the Princess Rooney Handicap at Calder in July, and 5-1 third choice Intangaroo, winner of the Humana Distaff at Churchill in May but fourth in her last start in the A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood in June.
Down the stretch as Intangaroo takes the lead four wide over Sugar Swirl, Mistical Plan, and Leah's Secret.
Mistical Plan broke alertly and went to the lead exiting the chute, setting fractions of 22.30 and 44.88 while being stalked by favorite Sugar Swirl to her inside. Entering the stretch, Mistical Plan continued to lead, but her fast early pace took its toll late as she faded to finish sixth. Intangaroo, who raced back in 7th early, came out six wide into the stretch and closed with a rush through the lane, taking over the lead inside the 1/8 pole to win going away by 2 3/4 lengths over late-running 6-1 Miraculous Miss in a time of 1:22.18 over the fast main track. It was just 3/4 length more to favorite Sugar Swirl third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1 Intangaroo Quinonez 12.20 7.00 3.90 7 Miraculous Miss Dominguez 7.00 3.50 2 Sugar Swirl Castellano 2.90 Winning Time: 1:22.18 $2 Exacta 1-7 81.50 $2 Trifecta 1-7-2 283.50 $2 Superfecta 1-7-2-3 1,645.00
Left: Intangaroo in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Gary Sherlock, celebrating his first Saratoga winner in as many starters, said, "You just saw why we came to Saratoga. She ran great at Churchill. The only time she really ran bad were those two races at Del Mar. This was a national stage: if we could win this, it was three Grade 1 wins and she would be looking good for the Eclipse Award. The next race will be the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and I'm about this because I don't have to worry about a Breeders' Cup prep." The Ballerina is a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event.
Right: Intangaroo heads back to the barn after the race.
Left: Intangaroo heads out to the track before the race. Winning jockey Alonso Quinonez, also celebrating his first Saratoga win, said, "It was my first time here and my first win, so I am excited. What can I say? I just followed instructions. I was a good passenger. She just did it all. We had it all mapped out. We said, 'Just let her break.' She relaxes pretty good when she is behind horses; when she's not, she wants to go. So, I just kept her behind horses, and she was perfect. When we turned for home, we angled to the outside and took off."
Right: Intangaroo in the paddock.
Left: Second place finisher Miraculous Miss in the post parade. Her trainer Steve Klesaris said, "Intangaroo is a good filly. She beat us at Churchill; she's tough Regardless, 'Miss' always shows up. This was another Grade 1 race and everyone came with their running shoes." Her jockey Ramon Dominguez said, "I had a great trip. We followed the winner, and we angled pretty wide turning for home and both of us finished pretty strongly. I was very pleased with my filly."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Sugar Swirl returns after the race. Her jockey Javier Castellano said, "The trip was pretty good and she was game. She gave me everything she had today." The Bobby Frankel trained daughter of Touch Gold improved her record to 10 wins, 3 seconds, and 5 thirds in 22 starts, earning $765,458 for owner-breeder Frank Stronach.
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