ADIRONDACK STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 2-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 6 1/2 FURLONGS
Valene Farm's Designer Legs was awarded the victory via disqualification following a roughly-run edition of the Grade 2, $196,000 Adirondack at Saratoga on Sunday. The front-running Who's in Town repeatedly hampered prohibitive 1-5 favorite Fiftyshadesofgold down the stretch before just holding on from Designer Legs. The inquiry sign went up promptly, and the stewards demoted Who's in Town from an otherwise admirable effort.
Designer Legs, previously trained by Gary Scherer, brought a perfect two-for-two mark into this debut for Dallas Stewart. But her maiden victory on June 28 at Canterbury and her late-running decision in the July 20 Prairie Gold Lassie were not sufficient to impress bettors, who ignored her as the second longest shot on the board at 16-1.
Who's in Town went off as the 4-1 second choice off her smart first-out score at Delaware Park. The Michael Matz filly showed plenty of speed to grab the lead from Hop the Six through a frenetic opening quarter in :21 ⅗. Unbeaten Fiftyshadesofgold, all the rage after her eight-length tour de force in the June 22 Debutante at Churchill Downs, chased along the rail in the next flight. Designer Legs had the odds-on favorite pinned in while stalking on the outside for Shaun Bridgmohan.
Who's in Town was pressured relentlessly by Hop the Six as they blazed a half in :44 ⅖. While Designer Legs kept to the outside path as she commenced her move, Corey Lanerie stayed on the fence aboard Fiftyshadesofgold, and tried to thread the needle at the head of the lane.
But Who's in Town closed the door on Fiftyshadesofgold, who had to steady in tight quarters. Meanwhile, when the longtime leader finally disposed of her nemesis Hop the Six, she was immediately accosted by a fresh challenger in Designer Legs.
Fiftyshadesofgold was not done yet either. Who's in Town re-opened the path to her inside, and Fiftyshadesofgold again gamely attempted to take it. But Who's in Town again came over on the favorite, even more flagrantly. A chain reaction of bumping then ensued among the three protagonists, and Fiftyshadesofgold had no choice but to check out of trouble.
Who's in Town, who also scrimmaged with Designer Legs in the melee, kept digging in and managed to outduel her by a neck. Another 1 ¾ lengths back in third came Thank You Marylou, who got up late to relegate Fiftyshadesofgold to fourth by a neck.
After Who's in Town completed 6 ½ fast-track furlongs in 1:16 ⅖, the stewards disqualified her and placed her fourth. Designer Legs became the official winner, sparking mutuels of $35, $11.20 and $4.30.
"She ran a great race -- very nice filly," Stewart said. "She's going to get better. I give a lot of credit to [owner] Murray [Valene]. I had her early and he sent her to Minnesota because his father is up there. She ran up there and of course she ran in a stake in Iowa.
"Murray called me and said, 'Hey, we're going to get that filly back. She's the real deal.' A lot of credit goes to Murray and Gary Scherer. She was ready to run; I try just not to mess her up.
"She fought back and forth with that horse [Who's in Town] and it came up the right way."
"Well, I thought I was sitting a good trip down the backside," Bridgmohan said. "Turning for home me and him [Joel Rosario on Who's in Town] was kind of fighting it out. He [Rosario] kind of bumped her [Fiftyshadesofgold] a little bit and she hesitated just enough. His filly [Who's in Town] was game but we got lucky and got put up."
Thank You Marylou was elevated to second, and Fiftyshadesofgold was promoted to third.
Lanerie was convinced that the interference cost Fiftyshadesofgold her perfect record.
"Absolutely -- no doubt," Lanerie said when asked if the favorite would have won without the trouble.
"I was sitting behind the leaders trying to find a spot to go. I saw (Rosario) go to the left-handed stick so I committed to the rail. He came off and I had nothing but room there. I came in there and he just shut me off."
"It's very disappointing," Fiftyshadesofgold's trainer Bret Calhoun said. "I thought we had the best horse. It looked like we were coming through and going to win. There was a pretty good-sized hole there; we were there. She looks like she's all right right now."
Matz was likewise disappointed at the outcome.
"What can I do," the trainer asked rhetorically after Who's in Town was disqualified. "I was real pleased with the way my filly ran. She was game. I didn't think she'd be on the lead. If there was a hole there, it was only open for a little bit. As long as she comes out of the race OK, we just have to go on from there."
Hop the Six trailed home well behind as last of the five to finish, and Untapable was scratched.
The Adirondack was marred by a fatal injury to Charmed Hour, who broke down on the backstretch and was sadly euthanized on the track.
"The fracture was an open fracture of the [right front] cannon bone," said Dr. Scott Palmer, the on-call veterinarian for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.
"That type of fracture is contaminated at the time of the injury and surgical repair is not an option. Sadly, [NYRA Chief Examining Veterinarian] Dr. [Anthony] Verderosa was required to euthanize her on the racetrack."
Bred by Tommy Hewett in Louisiana, Designer Legs was a bargain $10,000 yearling purchase at the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association Sale last September. The Graeme Hall filly has now earned $180,000 from her three-for-three record.
Designer Legs is out of the multiple stakes-winning Suave Prospect mare Elegant Designer. This is the family of Grade 1 hero Johnny Eves, Grade 2 victor Future Prospect and Grade 3 diva Devil's Bride.