A little less than a week out from Saturday’s $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose Stakes Brad Cox admitted to being hopeful that Sassy Little Lila could shed her seconditis in stakes company.
Cox will now most likely wait another week to see if the 4-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller can get over the top, opting to forego the 1-mile restricted turf stakes for fillies and mares and going after a much larger prize
“I’m going to scratch her, going to run her in the Fourstardave against the boys,” Cox said walking out of the paddock before Friday’s Grade 2 Hall of Fame. “I don’t think there’s going to be any speed in the boys race and we’re going to get a weight break, female against the boys.”
Sassy Little Lila was the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the De La Rose off a second to Antonoe in the Grade 1 Just A Game at Belmont Park June 10, her third runner-up finish in a turf stakes and second placing in a Grade 1. She’s one of 11 nominations for the Grade 1 Fourstardave, which is expected to draw American Patriot and Disco Partner.
“She’s got speed, it’s on the inner, it’s ambitious but I’ll tell you this, she’ll give them a scare,” Cox said.
The defection of Sassy Little Lila opens up the De La Rose a bit, most likely solidifying Saratoga stakes winner On Leave and Elysea’s World as the two main players.
On Leave won the Riskaverse last year at Saratoga before a win in the Grade 2 Sands Point at Belmont and a fourth in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. The 4-year-old daughter of War Front finished second to Cambodia in the Grade 2 Gallorette at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard and won the Perfect Sting at Belmont July 1.
Elysea’s World finished second in last year’s Grade 2 Lake George at Saratoga and fourth in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. The 4-year-old daughter of Champs Elysees is 0-for-4 this season but each start came in graded stakes for Chad Brown.
John Kimmel hopes to pull an upset and get in the win column at the meet with Bar Of Gold, runner-up to Cavorting in the 2015 Test. Chester and Mary Broman’s homebred New York-bred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro comes out of a second in a Belmont turf allowance to stakes winner Grand Jete after a seventh in Songbird’s comeback win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes Day.
“She’s super impressive,” Kimmel said. “Her mother was a graded stakes winner on the grass, never won on the dirt. By Medaglia d’Oro, who’s had his compliment of grass horses, he himself was a grass horse. When this year came around, we thought we’d give it a go. She ran first time at Aqueduct in a little stake on the grass and actually had a pretty rough trip, could have won the race and finished up fourth.”
The fourth came in the Plenty Of Grace, won by De La Rose entrant Light In Paris from Chad Brown’s barn. Bar Of Gold is a multiple stakes winner on the main track, winning the Critical Eye and the Empire Distaff Handicap for state-breds last year. She’s placed in seven graded stakes. Despite that success, Kimmel thought he’d try again on the grass.
“We thought we’d give it another go on the grass,” Kimmel said. “The distance will be OK, she’s pretty versatile as far as that’s concerned. So we’ll see. The only thing that concerns me is the weather doesn’t look that great. She loves the off-racetrack. If it comes off that’s great, she’s won (five of six) on the off-dirt, but the question is what she’s going to do on the soft turf. I’m not sure I would even run her if it got super boggy.”
The De La Rose is the last of five stakes on the Whitney Day card and the field also includes Thundering Sky, Freudie Anne, Puca, Boreale, Laur Net, Sky My Sky and Proper Discretion. Clipthecouponannie is entered for main track only.