As Sweet Lulu walked back along the main track following the tracks she made minutes before, fans applauded along the outside rail as she passed.
As tired as she may have been, she never lowered her head. The sweat on her back, the hallmark of a herculean effort, glistened in the afternoon sunlight, as she soaked in a victory. It’s a feeling she’s accustomed to. From morning training, to getting saddled in the paddock prior to races like Saturday’s $500,000 Test Stakes, Sweet Lulu has a proud, confident demeanor, the kind of personality it takes to win a Grade 1.
Easy victories are tough to come by in racing and it takes more than skill, pedigree or athleticism to win. It often takes willpower. It takes heart.
Sweet Lulu showed both in the Test. Rivals barreled down on her in the stretch like cannonballs rolling down a steep hill, yet the Mr. Greeley filly dug deep and willed herself to win.
Sweet Lulu tracked early leader Baby J through quick opening fractions of :22.28 and :44.95 of the 7-furlong Test, after a start that gave her connections confidence she might be able to stretch her unbeaten record to four wins.
“I think we knew the way she broke that she was going to take to the surface,” said Christina Jelm, assistant to winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer as she made her way with the filly back to the test barn. “It was a little worrisome coming into the stretch, but she showed her heart.”
Check out the full story in Sunday’s edition of The Saratoga Special.