Wednesday, Breen returns to Saratoga with the undefeated Bold Union, who is anything but a longshot among the eight two-year-old fillies going in the 92nd running $150,000 Adirondack Stakes.
“When she gets out front, she has the tendency to look around,” said Breen, 39, a leading trainer at Monmouth Park. “Stewart [Elliott] said he had to ride her a little more to have her pay attention. If her only problem is her looking around while winning by nine and three-quarter lengths, then I guess that’s a good problem to have.”
Since the Astoria, Breen has been training Bold Union to stretch out and develop a running style similar to her sire, Dixie Union, a multiple graded-stakes winner who was fourth to Unshaded in the 2000 Travers Stakes.
“We are hoping she can be like Dixie Union and stretch out,” said Breen of Bold Union, who arrived upstate over the weekend and had a strong gallop Monday morning at the Spa. “She has the gears of a Ferrari. We worked her with a couple of my other babies and she had toyed with them. She seemed to handle the track. She didn’t mind the off going. When she pulled up, she was on her toes.”
Breen also likes the size and personality of the George and Lori Hall’s $75,000 purchase.
“She looks like a big, robust mare,” Breen said. “She has the demeanor of a 9-year-old mare; she is so laid back. She takes her time when she walks around, but she does get excited once in a while. She is still a baby. Still, she’s raw talent. Now, it’s time to test her.”
Not only will Bold Union be tested for distance, she will also be tested for class by Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s stakes-winning Garden District from the hot trainer-jockey duo of Todd Pletcher and John Velazquez.
Pletcher is looking for his third Adirondack victory, the most recent of which was in 2006 with Octave, who went on to win the Grade 1 Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks.
Garden District, also by Dixie Union, is the lone stakes winner in the 6 ½-furlong Adirondack, with the Grade 3 Debutante on her resume. Just as impressive was her second-place finish in the Grade 3 Kentucky Stakes to Run Away and Hide, the likely favorite in Thursday’s Grade 2 Saratoga Special for juvenile colts and geldings.-
“She’s a very consistent filly and has trained well since we’ve gotten her,” Pletcher said. “She’s run every time we have run her. For a filly to run against the colts is always impressive. We were happy to get her back against fillies where she ran well.”
Unlike many precocious two-year-olds who are one-dimensional speedsters, Garden District has already demonstrated the ability to rate behind pacesetters. She also has overcome trouble in each of her starts, getting squeezed back early in the Kentucky Stakes and bumped around in her debut, in which she drew clear.
“There are some two-year-olds who are precocious and quick early,” Pletcher said. “It’s good to know that she’s versatile.”
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Simplify will get another chance at Garden District after finishing third in the Debutante. Trainer Steve Asmussen, in contention for his first Saratoga training title, is looking for another two-year-old stakes win here to go with Jardin’s victory in the Grade 3 Schuylerville victory on Opening Day.
Also expected to attract support is Mike Ryan’s Mani Bhavan. Trained by Steve Klesaris, she drew away by 9¼ lengths while covering five furlongs in :57 3/5 in her debut at Delaware Park.
The field for Wednesday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Adirondack Stakes
PP HORSE TRAINER JOCKEY WEIGHT
1 Dorothy’s Essense Gary Contessa Jeffrey Sanchez 118
2 Bold Union Kelly Breen Stewart Elliot 122
3 Doremifasolatido James Jerkens Eibar Coa 118
4 Simplify Steve Asmussen Shaun Bridgmohan 118
5 Golden Artemis Kiaran McLaughlin Cornelio Velasquez 118
6 Garden District Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 122
7 Pretty Prolific James Baker Julien Leparoux 118
8 Mani Bhavan Steve Klesaris Alan Garcia 118