The Ballerina (Grade 1) (BC)- $500.000 Purse
SAR- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
August 26, 2023
The biggest day of the SAR meet is upon us, and while the crowd will file in to watch the Travers, they will get treated to multiple Grade 1 races, some of which have major BC implications. The Ballerina is on the undercard, but it has plenty riding on it, as it is a “win and you’re in” race for the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint. Right now, Baptisted By Fire and Last Lady are at the top of the leaderboard for that race, but neither of them is here, so this is a golden chance for all twelve of our fillies and mares in this race. Looking back, two memorable winners of this race are the late Cymba, won in 2006 and 2007, as well as Avery Island, who won in 2012 and 2014. Last year’s winner was Last Call, and she will have the opportunity to add her name to the list of those who have won the Ballerina more than once. Let’s get to know her a little more, as well as the other eleven horses, as we check out the field!
#1- Up She Flew (Riggins Racing, ridden by L Saez)- Picked up by the trainer for $375.000 in private sales in late March, and has made five starts since then. After a series of solid starts where she hit the board at the graded level, Up She Flew finally scored her first win in the Riggins silks here last month. But it wasn’t in a stake and was instead in an open allowance. It didn’t seem like she needed to be dropped into that race, but those $95.000 allowances are as good as a stake anyway. This may be a very good distance for her, too.
#2- Fearless Move (Asgar, ridden by A Beschizza)- I don’t think we can be sure what we’ll get out of Fearless Move. In her last four races, she has a nice win in the mud at the Bed o Roses Handicap, and also ran third in the Vagrancy Handicap. That would seem to be good, but the other two races tell the opposite story, having run a complete dud in the Apple Blossom, which we could probably forgive. Then, in her last race, she did it again, running poorly here in the Honorable Miss Handicap. She’ll get a chance to make amends, and I can see her turning it around. There are simply others in here that seem a bit more trustworthy.
#3- Dialing (Angelos Stables, ridden by J Crawford)- We saw her here in the Ballerina last year, but it would not go down as a memorable finish. She still got into the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint and had a very poor race. However, that wasn’t going to be where her story ended, as Dialing has been outstanding since that race, finishing in the top three in all six of her races since. Three of those are wins, and two of the others saw her just miss in a photo. These have mainly been in Grade 2’s and 3’s and now she’ll dance here in the Ballerina again and hope for better.
#4- Lady Sammyantha (The Sidley Stud, ridden by M Franco)- The veteran five-year-old mare by Ginger Haggis is set to make her 34th career start here. We saw her run last month in the Grade 3 Pitcher Stakes at MTH, and it would be the first race in five tries where she did not pick up a check. Prior to that, she had won the Grade 3 Chicago Stakes at CD. That’s run at seven furlongs, and when you look at the last three starts of hers at this distance, you have to be encouraged. Expect her to turn in another strong effort here, but even with that, this is one of the tougher fields that she has seen in a while.
#5- Silver Jazzmin (The Sidley Stud, ridden by T Gaffalione)- Starting next to her stablemate, Silver Jazzmin will be making her 39th career start, so do the math, and they’re closing in on 75 combined races between them. They ran together in the Chicago Stakes, and Silver Jazzmin also earned a check thanks to finishing third. That’s the only race in her last four that she has not won, with two of the others being Grade 3’s like the Hendrie Stakes at WO last month. Ran in the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint in 2021 and was not a factor.
#6- Christina G (Mb Stables, ridden by R M Hernandez)- The middle of the starting gate is reserved for the 30 and up crowd, as in the amount of career races they have had. Christina G is also a veteran of the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint, having run in the race in each of the last three years. In 2022, she came just one position of getting a win in that race. Since then, she’s won just one of six, so she has a little work to do if she wants to get back in that race. Did win the Grade 3 Colors at CD in late May, so there’s no reason to think that she cannot do what is needed. This will also be her third crack at the Ballerina and has finished fourth and sixth previously.
#7- Last Call (YME Stable, ridden by Ru Silvera)- Last year, Last Call found her way to the winner’s circle in the Ballerina with an impressive two length win. Following that, she attempted the Grade 1 Cotillion at PRX and was decent despite missing out on a check. The BC would be next, and once again she would get the most frustrating finish that a horse will have in a race like that, running fifth. In 2023, she has only made two starts, and while she was not terrible at all, you have to wonder why she spent so much time on the shelf. Regardless, she hopes to revisit old glory here, and you can never rule out a past winner of a race.
#8- Oceanus (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- We also saw Oceanus run here in the Ballerina, but she would only finish sixth. Not to worry, she punched her ticket to the BC in her next start, by virtue of winning the TC of America at KEE, and from there it was on to make history in the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint. She would start that race near the back, but after a great stretch run, Oceanus would end up getting the big win! She would remain hot after that as well, taking the Grade 1 La Brea a month later. 2023 has only seen her make four starts, and she has been rather quiet, with no wins in them. Comes out of a fourth place run at the Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes at WO last month.
#9- Matamata (Smokey Stover, ridden by P Lopez)- Ran in the Alabama here last year, and was a non-factor, but ever since that race, she has been terrific. In the eight starts afterwards, she has pulled off six victories, a stretch that is highlighted by the Grade 1 Phipps Stakes at BEL in June, and she’s also won her last start, the Grade 3 Pitcher Stakes, taking the $500.000 purse that is offered by that one. Those distances are each longer than she will go here, but that is not something that should be an issue. Matamata will be looking to make amends for disappointing at the Spa last year, and she should be one of the favorites.
#10- Ifyerwokeyerajoke (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by F Geroux)- At SAR last year, Ifyerwokeyerajoke got her signature win, coming in the Grade 1 Test. It’s the last time she has won a race, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had her moments. She would pick up fourth place spoils in the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint, then after a slump, is starting to become resurgent with her last two starts. it was a pair of third place runs, including in the Honorable Miss, but it did break a tough three race stretch. This track has been good to her once, and perhaps it can happen again.
#11- Flyingbolt (Wood Duck Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- After a long and successful career with Jokerjoes, that trainer would enter the five-year-old mare in an $80.000 claimer in April. It was there that Wood Duck Stables made the claim on her but has not rushed her back out on the track. After three months to thoroughly get a feel for the horse, the trainer entered Flyingbolt in the Honorable Miss, where she beat everyone other than Not A Big Deal. Who, by the way, is right next to her here. Flyingbolt has an impressive fifteen wins in 27 starts.
#12- Not A Big Deal (Mb Stables, ridden by D Davis)- Well, she kinda has been a big deal over her career, winning ten times in 28 starts, and accumulating over $1,200.000 in earnings. It was as a two-year-old where she made most of that money, but she is still racing very well. Since September of last year, she has hit the board in six straight, but did not have another win until she captured the Honorable Miss over Flyingbolt and Ifyerwokeyerajoke. She’s earned the chance to run here, but I would lean towards the other Mb entry, Christina G, if picking between the two of them.