'Mission' accomplished in Grade 3 Glens Falls
By John Scheinman | 08/31/2014 05:03 PM ET
Under a confident ride by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, favored Irish Mission established herself as a serious contender for major fall turf races by conquering seven opponents in the 19th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Glens Falls for fillies and mares on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course.
Stationed snuggly along the rail while tracking Viva Rafaela, Irish Mission tipped out at the eighth pole and galloped past the leader to win by a half-length. Caroline Thomas charged late to miss the place by a neck and was followed in order by Watsdachances, Aigue Marine, Cat's Claw, Emotional Kitten and Pleasant Cat.
The winner, owned by Robert Evans and trained by Christophe Clement, completed the 1 3/8-mile race over ground labeled firm in 2:15.01.
"I think she can do even better than that," said trainer Clement, who took over the training of the 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare for her 2014 campaign. "I'm delighted because the filly deserves to win. She's the most beautiful mare to look at. She's obviously going to be a great broodmare prospect in the future. She was so comfortable with Johnny that the fractions were irrelevant."
A winner of five of 25 career starts and $1,183,443, Irish Mission paid $8.50 for a $2 win bet as the tepid 3-1 favorite.
"She broke good," Velazquez said. "I put her right behind the speed and came out at the eighth pole. When I needed her, she responded. She made me look good."
Clement said three possible races were in sight for Irish Mission: the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational on September 27 at Belmont Park, the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor on October 19 at Woodbine, and the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive on September 27 at Santa Anita Park.