Photo: Adam Coglianese / NYRA
Naughty Gal made her stakes debut a winning one in Sunday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Adirondacka 6 1/2-furlong sprint for juvenile fillies at Saratoga.
Owned by Holy Cow Stable, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas and piloted by Luis Saez, the Into Mischief bay entered from a 9 1/4-length romp in a six-furlong maiden special weight on July 4 at Churchill Downs.
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Naughty Gal broke alertly from post 2 and took command through splits of 22.46 and 46.15 seconds over the fast main track with maiden winner Apple Picker pressing along the rail under Hall of Famer John Velazquez and the Flavien Prat-piloted maiden Janis Joplin looming a threat into the turn.
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A misbehaving Naughty Gal traveled widely through the turn as Janis Joplin, Apple Picker and Sabra Tuff cut the corner and began to make up ground on the runaway pacesetter. Racing down the center of the track, Naughty Gal persevered to the wire a 2 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:18.97.
Janis Joplin, third last out in the Schuylerville (G3), completed the exacta by a head over Sabra Tuff. Apple Picker and Damaso rounded out the order of finish.
It was the third stakes win of the meet for Saez, last year’s meet-leading rider, following scores with Fearless in the Birdstone and Art Collector in the Alydar. He said Naughty Gal was a little green turning for home.
“At three-eighths her ear was back-and-forth looking at something and got a little lost, but she kept running and going,” Saez said. “She gave me another gear and ran good.”
A $350,000 purchase out of the stakes-winning Spanish Steps mare Conway Two Step, Naughty Gal provided Lukas a record-extending seventh score in the Adirondack. The Hall of Famer’s past winners include Nervous Baba (1985), Sacahuista (1986), Over All (1987), Pat Copelan (1988), Salty Perfume (1997) and Folklore (2005).
Lukas, who also conditions Schuylerville (G3) runner-up Summer Promise, will look to keep the two fillies separated by having Naughty Gal make her next start in Kentucky in either the Alcibiades (G1) on Oct. 7 at Keeneland or the Pocahontas (G3) on Sept. 17 at Churchill Downs.
BC Stables’ Summer Promise, by Uncle Mo, will target the Spinaway (G1) on Sept. 4 at Saratoga.
Naughty Gal had a trio of breezes over the Oklahoma training track to prepare for her Spa and stakes debut, which Lukas said was a result of seeing Summer Promise tire late in the Schuylerville.
“I didn’t have her tight enough, and I underestimated how this track is. I think I got her beat, but we’ll try to correct that in the Spinaway,” Lukas said. “This one here (Naughty Gal), we pointed for and got a little smarter about what we were going to do. We put a couple of five-eighths (breezes) in here, and it paid off.”
Fellow Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, conditioner of Janis Joplin, said the oddly run stretch drive made it difficult to discern who was in command.
“I thought we had a good shot, and then coming down (the stretch), I couldn’t tell whether we were in front or who was in front,” Casse said. “We were watching from the wire, and when they got up close, I was like, ‘Oh well, second.’ I’m happy for Wayne. If we’re not going to win, I want Wayne.”
Prat said the now dual graded-stakes-placed maiden continued to improve.
“She ran really well and broke better than last time,” Prat said. “She got us into the race, and we were traveling well. I thought she could win for a little bit, but the other horse was just better.”
Promise of Hope was pulled up through the turn by Jose Ortiz and watered off. Trainer Tom Amoss reported via Twitter the filly was in good order back at the barn.
“Happy to report that Promise Of Hope is completely sound at the barn,” Amoss wrote. “Jose thought he felt something behind when she switched to her inside lead and wanted to be cautious. I am grateful he took care of my horse.”
Bred in Florida by Loren Nichols, Naughty Gal banked $110,000 in victory while improving her record to 3: 2-0-0. She returned $4.90 for a $2 win bet.