Pretty Birdie Looks To End The Dating As It Started

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Saratoga’s season started off with a popular victory as a horse owned by Marylou Whitney Stables won the opening day of the Schuylerville Stakes.

The hope of the family and friends of the late Marylou is that the same horse, a 2 year old gray filly named Pretty Birdie, can do the same in the Class I Spinaway, $ 300,000 for 2 year old fillies on Sunday. .

Marylou Whitney, a beloved socialite and philanthropist from the town of Spa, passed away in the summer of 2019. Her late husband, John Hendrickson, wanted to keep his legacy alive and he kept his stable name on the Whitney horses.

And they have a good one.

“I am really blessed to have a horse in a Class I for Marylou,” said Hendrickson on Friday. “I know Marylou is looking down and smiling from ear to ear. The racing gods winked at Marylou Whitney Stables.”

Pretty Birdie won the Schuylerville by two lengths and beat her maiden by 3 3/4 lengths at Churchill Downs. She did not have a horse in front of her in these two starts.

She is trained by Norman Casse and will be ridden for Luis Saez, the leader of the meeting.


Pretty Birdie is the 3-1 second pick on the morning line in the nine-horse field. The Echo Zulo, coached by Steve Asmussen, who beat his maiden here by 5 1/2 lengths, also on opening day at the Spa, is the pick of the morning line 8-5.

“There is talent in there,” said Hendrickson. “(Pretty Birdie) is fast, but there are other fast horses as well. It should be a fun race.”

Lucky coin

It was back on the grass for Pulsate on Friday and that meant he was back in the winner’s circle.

The 5 year old horse, well beaten on his last start on Saratoga land, came back on the grass in the $ 120,000 Lucky Coin and the difference was a winner. Ridden by Manny Franco, Pulsate worked his way to a victory by a neck in the 5 1/2 furlong race on the Mellon turf course

In his previous start, he was fourth, beaten by 9 1/4 lengths in a 6 1/2 stadium race.

“He’s a lot different on the turf, he’s a turf horse,” said Franco, Pulsate’s regular rider. “He tried on dirt, but on grass he is much better.”

It was the first Stakes victory for Pulsate, who was on his 17th career debut. Last year he finished second at Lucky Coin.

The pace at the start was brisk as Maven, coached by 6-5 frontrunner Wesley Ward, ran the first quarter mile in 22.1 and a half seconds clocking 44.78. Maven, ridden by John Velazquez, was followed by Noble Emotion and Jose Ortiz, closely followed by Pulsate in third place.

Pulsate and Franco took over with an eighth of a mile to go, then fended off the late charge from Backtohisroots and Luis Saez. The final time was 1: 02.39. Pulse paid $ 15, $ 4.80, and $ 3.60.

Win and you’re in

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In stops at the Spa on Saturday.

The winner of the $ 1 Million Jockey Club Gold Cup will automatically earn a spot in the $ 6 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 6 in Del Mar. Additionally, the $ 600,000 Flower Bowl winner in grade I Saturday will get a free spot in the $ 2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, also on November 6.

The Jockey Club Gold Cup and Flower Bowl take place for the first time in Saratoga after taking place at Belmont Park.

Both races will be televised live on NBCSN from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.


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