War Like Goddess much the best in G1 Flower Bowl
by Keith McCalmont
George Krikorian’s War Like Goddess won for the sixth time in seven starts after securing her first Grade 1 win in Saturday’s $600,000 Flower Bowl, an 11-furlong inner turf test for older fillies and mares, at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old daughter of English Channel posted a 2 1/4-length victory, earning a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf in November at Del Mar.
Sent to post as the 2-5 mutuel favorite under regular rider Julien Leparoux, War Like Goddess settled in third position as La Signare set splits of 24.71 seconds, 48.83 and 1:13.66 with Great Island tracking in second position on the firm turf.
War Like Goddess advanced along the hedge inside of Lovely Lucky as La Signare led the field into the final turn with Great Island ramping up the pressure outside the pacesetter. Leparoux angled War Like Goddess outside of rivals for the stretch run, engaging La Signare and Great Island out of the turn and utilized her strong turn-of-foot to take command at the eighth pole, before powering home in a final time of 2:13.07.
Mott won the Flower Bowl for the fifth time following previous scores with Gaily Gaily , Dahlia’s Dreamer , Northern Emerald  and Dynaforce .
“When they were coming out of the turn; I was watching the race and the pillar from the grandstand was in the way, so I didn’t know if she was still on the inside or the outside,” Mott said. “Then by the time she came, I could see that she made her way to the outside and was clear.
“She was tucked in most of the way,” Mott added. “He tipped her out and got running room. She’s won on the inside before. If you can get a clear run, that’s all you need.”
War Like Goddess, a $30,000 purchase at the OBS June 2019 2-Year-Olds and Horses of Racing Age Sale, entered from a trio of graded scores under Leparoux, comprising the 11-furlong Grade 3 Orchid in March at Gulfstream, the 12-furlong Grade 3 Bewitch in April at Keeneland, and the 12-furlong Grade 2 Glens Falls on August 7 over the Spa inner turf.
“She’s a classy filly. You can do whatever you want and she’ll still give you that punch in the end. It’s nice. It’s a sign of the good ones, for sure,” Leparoux said. “Bill Mott knows how to get them to these Grade 1s. They took their time with her and it has paid off.”
Great Island, last out winner of the Grade 3 Matchmaker on July 17 at Monmouth Park, stayed on strong under Joel Rosario to complete the exacta by a nose over the late-running My Sister Nat.
“She was closing really nicely. The other horse had a better kick than I did,” Rosario said. “She ran well. I thought for a second we were getting there. She seems fine with the distance. The winner was much better.”
Rounding out the order of finish were Lovely Lucky, American Bridge and La Signare. Coastana was scratched.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, War Like Goddess banked $330,000 in victory while improving her record to six wins from seven starts. She returned $2.80 for a $2 win ticket.
Mott said War Like Goddess could train up to the 11-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
“We’ll talk about that, but there’s a good possibility of that," Mott said. "She seems to run pretty well fresh, so maybe that’s what we’ll do.”
Live racing resumes Sunday at Saratoga with a 12-race card featuring the Grade 1, $300,000 Spinaway for juvenile fillies. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.