Lady Shipman furloughed her typical front-running style in Sunday’s $100,000 Smart N Fancy S. at Saratoga for a stalking spot, but that didn’t stop the talented miss from blazing to a new course record in the 5 1/2-furlong affair.
Coincidentally enough, it’s the same distance as the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1), which will be run at Keeneland on October 31. That same race saw filly Mizdirection topple the boys not once, but twice, with back-to-back victories in 2012-13.
Lady Shipman proved Sunday she has the ability and speed to make her own mark on Breeders’ Cup Day 2015.
Tahnee attempted to steal the show on the lead, setting splits of :21.82 and :43.98, but Lady Shipman latched onto her flank and never relinquished that spot. The chestnut lass easily took command of the contest rounding the turn and proceeded to draw off under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who geared down on his sophomore mount well before the wire to be 2 3/4 lengths clear.
Despite being in hand late, Lady Shipman still set a new course record of 1:00.46 over the firm Mellon Turf. The previous record of 1:00.59 was established by Fiddlers Patriot in an allowance/optional claimer on this day five years ago.
Lady Shipman moved her current win streak to four straight, and in fact has won seven of her nine career starts. She dropped her debut effort on the main track at Gulfstream Park West last October then began a four-race win streak that included a pair of dominant stakes wins.
The Kathleen O’Connell trainee won that quartet, all between five and six furlongs, by a combined 28 1/4 lengths. She tried to stretch out to seven furlongs for the Wait a While S. on May 16 at Belmont Park, but faded to third that day after leading into the stretch.
Lady Shipman began her current run in 5 1/2-furlongs events with an easy score over the good turf at Monmouth Park in the Crank It Up S. on June 6 and has proved unbeatable at that distance on the green.
Lady Shipman photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese/Chelsea Durand
Smart N Fancy Quotes
Kathleen O’Connell, winning trainer of Lady Shipman (No. 6): “She was impressive today and she’s been pretty impressive every time, to be honest. She seems like she’s always got more in the tank. She handles herself well, especially for a 3-year-old. I asked Irad to use his own judgment. He’s a good rider. She sat off the pace at OBS [the OBS Sprint Jan. 27] so it’s not like she has to be in front. She’s got a great mind. It’s always nice to win a stakes race at Saratoga.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr. winning jockey aboard Lady Shipman (No. 6): “We broke well and I just sat right there. She relaxed really well. I let the 2 horse [Free As a Bird] take the lead and when I asked her she just took off and did it easy. Five and a half [furlongs] is great for her and I think she can go six [furlongs].”