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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Todd Pletcher stretched out Orbolution in dis­tance and was able to get her on turf for her third ca­reer start, which came dur­ing open­ing week­end of the Saratoga meet. The re­sult was a go­ing-away 2 1/2-length maiden vic­tory at 1 1/16 miles.

On Thurs­day, the 2-year-old daugh­ter of Orb will be fa­vored to score her first stakes win over six ri­vals in the $100,000 P.G. John­son Stakes.

Orbolution is the only mem­ber of the field to have raced as far as the 1 1/16 miles of the P.G. John­son. She re­laxed be­hind horses early in her turf de­but and moved into con­tention along the in­side near­ing the far turn for jockey John Ve­lazquez. She an­gled out and split horses in up­per stretch, then was strid­ing out

smartly at the fin­ish.

Her per­for­mance was im­pres­sive be­cause the pace was slow and she did her best run­ning dur­ing the quick later splits. The fi­nal five-six­teenths of a mile went in 28.97 sec­onds, and Orbolution was timed for her fi­nal six­teenth in 6.29.

Orbolution fin­ished third in April at Keeneland go­ing 4 1/2 fur­longs in her first start. She was third again in an off-theturf race at Belmont in May go­ing five fur­longs.

She is out of the Horse Ch­est­nut mare My Rachel, whom Pletcher trained from 2006-08.

“We’d been look­ing to stretch her out,” Pletcher said. “Her dam was a dis­tance turf mare. This is the race we wanted for her, and it all looks good.”

Men­tal­ity, a front-run­ning six-fur­long de­but maiden win­ner on turf at Belmont Park in June for Wesley Ward, could be the sec­ond choice as she at­tempts to ne­go­ti­ate an ex­tra five-six­teenths of a mile.

Sassy Si­enna, trained by Brad Cox, closed from far back to win her de­but go­ing 7 1/2 fur­longs on grass at In­di­ana Grand as the 3-5 fa­vorite.

Ro­man­tic Babe, a $17,000 year­ling pur­chase trained by David Donk, won her de­but at 38-1 at Saratoga on Aug. 11. She was stead­ied at the start and got away slowly in the 5 1/2-fur­long sprint, ad­vanced along the rail near­ing the stretch, split horses, and then pulled away to win by 1 1/2 lengths. She gal­loped out ahead of the field.

“She was quite pro­fes­sional af­ter get­ting squeezed at the start,” Donk said. “It was a good ed­u­ca­tion. The ques­tion is go­ing from 5 1/2 fur­longs to two turns, but I’ve never thought she was strictly a sprinter.”

Life Time Ci­ti­zen won a maiden race at In­di­ana Grand by six lengths in May. She fin­ished sec­ond in an op­tion­al­claim­ing race at Delaware Park in her next start and then was pri­vately pur­chased by the Wel­lSpring Sta­bles of Robert Vukovich.

In her Aug. 16 de­but for trainer Phil Serpe, Life Time Ci­ti­zen fin­ished an even fourth in the $100,000 Bolton Land­ing Stakes, a 5 1/2-fur­long turf sprint.

“I’d only had her a short time, and I thought she ran a pro­duc­tive race,” Serpe said. “She’s go­ing to have to stretch out in dis­tance, but she’s by Proud Ci­ti­zen, and that should help.”

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