NEW WORLD TO CONQUER
ORBOLUTION TRIES STAKES IN P.G. JOHNSON, PAGE 3
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.”