Breeders’ Cup Champ Wavell Avenue Headlines Shine Again at Saratoga

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champ Wavell Avenue is the one to beat in the Shine Again at the Spa. (Photo credit: Breeders' Cup Ltd.)

Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint champ Wavell Avenue is the one to beat in the Shine Again at the Spa. (Photo credit: Breeders’ Cup Ltd.)

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champ Wavell Avenue will be in action at Saratoga on Wednesday, the 4-5 morning line favorite for the $100,000 Shine Again.

The Shine Again is restricted to fillies and mares that have not won a graded stake in 2016, and Wavell Avenue ran fourth in the race last summer. Less than three months later she was a Breeders’ Cup winner.

The Chad Brown trainee has lost her three starts this year, most recently a runner up finish in the Bed o’ Roses Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park.

“She’s training really well, we’re looking forward to running her in this spot,” said Brown. “Her last race she really had to go wide but she’s come back a little stronger. Ultimately, our goal is for the [Grade 1] Ballerina [August 27] but we’ll see how she does here first.”

Her main rival will be Promise Me Silver, who has won 10 of her 13 career starts. She won the Texas bred Valor Farm in her last outing at Lone Star Park. The Bret Calhoun trainee won the Eight Belles (G3) last year at Churchill Downs for her lone graded stakes victory.

We are one quarter of the way through the Saratoga meeting, and trainers Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher are deadlocked with nine winners each.

Pletcher is seeking his 13th training title and Brown his first, having finished second to Pletcher in each of the last four years.

Kiaran McLaughlin is third in the trainer standings with seven winners from 16 starters. He started off the meeting having won with six of his first eight starters.

Irad Ortiz Jr. leads all jockeys with 17 winners from his 79 mounts. Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez is second with a dozen winners from 55 mounts

Jose Ortiz got off to a slow start at the meeting but is picking up momentum, moving up to third in the jockey standings with 10 winners from 71 mounts.  Javier Castellano is fourth with nine winners.

Let’s head out to the Spa for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:

spa16

Saratoga Race 8 The Shine Again (Post time 5:02 ET)      

#4 Promise Me Silver   4-1          

#3 Wavell Avenue   4-5

#6 Theophilia   10-1

#8 Sweet On Smokey   8-1

Analysis: Promise Me Silver looks back on track with a sharp seven length win in the Texas bred Valor Farm last out at Lone Star in her second start off an 8 1/2 month layoff. She won the Eight Belles (G3) last year on Derby Day at seven furlongs for her eighth consecutive victory to start her career, but then her form went south in her next three starts facing graded stakes company. The filly owns solid early and mid pace numbers and looks primed for a top effort. She will get the jump on the chalk in here and is going to end up offering more value for the top spot.

Wavell Avenue is last year’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) champ, pulling off the upset at 10-1. She is 0 for 3 since, running third in the Madison (G1) off a six-month layoff, then running a disappointing fourth in the Humana Distaff (G1) as the favorite. Last out at Belmont Park she put in a mild late bid to finish second in the Bed o’ Roses ‘Cap (G3), coming up 1 3/4 lengths short of catching By the Moon as the even money chalk. She ran fourth in this race last year which came up tougher than this year’s edition. The question is whether or not she gets enough pace to run at.

Theophilia makes her stakes debut here for the Mott barn off a sharp win versus Alw-2 optional claimers going a one turn mile at Aqueduct last November. She has won three of her six career starts and two in a row. She cuts back to seven furlongs and she broke her maiden at this distance here last July in her third career start. The Mott barn is 17% winners with runners coming back off a +180-day layoff.

Wagering

WIN: #4 to win at 3-1 or better.

EX: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8

TRI: 3,4 / 3,4,6,8 / 3,4,6,7,8

 

 

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