by Najja Thompson
Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for his sixth career victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack for juvenile fillies on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course, as he saddles a formidable pair in Virginia Eloise and Guacamole.
Winner of the last two editions of the Adirondack with Pure Silver in 2017 and Nonna Mela in 2016, Pletcher will saddle Virginia Eloise for St. Elias Stable and MeB Racing Stable. The Curlin filly won her debut on July 4 at Belmont Park in which she bested a field of six by five lengths. Posting three works since, Pletcher is encouraged with her development heading into Saturday's race.
"She's training very well," said Pletcher who also won the Adirondack with Kauai Katie in 2012, Position Limit in 2010 and Octave in 2006.. "We're pleased with the professionalism she showed in her debut, and she's continued to show us that in the mornings in preparation for this race."
Virginia Eloise will be ridden by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard from post 5.
Repole Stable's Guacamole will look to break her maiden in the Adirondack. In her debut, she broke from the outermost post 8 on a muddy track on July 26. The Flat Out filly stalked in second and just missed at the wire to lose by a nose. Pletcher said he was encouraged by her effort and thought she deserved the opportunity to run in the race.
"Any time you're fortunate to win a prestigious race such as the Adirondack with a well-bred filly, it means a lot to her residual value and to the owners," said Pletcher. "Hopefully, we can do it again".
Guacamole will break from post 2 with Luis Saez aboard.
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart will enter Sue's Fortune for Fortune Farm. A New York-bred by Jump Start, she impressively won her debut by 8 ½ lengths on July 5 at Belmont Park.
"She came out of her first race in good shape," said Englehart. "We were planning on looking at the Adirondack first, thinking it might come up lighter than the Seeking the Ante [Friday, August 24]. Last year, a New York-bred won it [Pure Silver], so we're going to try to repeat it this year and go from there."
Sue's Fortune will leave from post 6 with Junior Alvarado in the irons.
Exiting a field-high 75 Beyer Speed Figure in her debut on July 20, Lyrical Ladey will enter for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and Phoenix Thoroughbreds. Purchased for $625,000 as a 2-year-old in training, the daughter of More Than Ready bested a field of 10 in her lone start to win by 5 ¾ lengths.
Lyrical Lady Ricardo Santanta, Jr. will ride from post 3.
Rounding out the field are Grandma Gertie for trainer Ed Coletti and Uptowncharlybrown Stud and Mucho Amor for trainer Wesley Ward and Ten Broeck Farm.