SARATOGA SPRINGS — Sister Peacock struts in from Woodbine looking for her fifth career win in Sunday’s $100,000 Galway, a 5 1/2-furlong Mellon turf sprint for sophomore fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
Trained and part-owned by Stuart Simon with Brent and Russell McLellan, Sister Peacock is a well-bred daughter of Real Solution out of the In Excess mare Imforeal. Her second dam, Miss Soft Sell produced multiple Grade 1-winner Brother Derek, which is the main reason Simon said he spent $9,000 to purchase Sister Peacock from the 2017 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
“The first thing that drew my attention to her was the bottom side of her pedigree with my connection to Mr. Peacock. I trained for Mr. Peacock, who owned Brother Derek, for over 25 years and that’s why I named her Sister Peacock,” said Simon. “We went and looked at her and liked her and bought her at a good price. The sire wasn’t a high-fashion sire starting out. You never know what you’ll have to pay, but she’s been great so far.“
Sister Peacock won her first two starts on the Woodbine Tapeta last fall before completing the exacta in a pair of one-mile turf stakes over the winter at Gulfstream Park in the Andromeda and Mrs. Presidentress.
The talented bay improved on those efforts on return to Woodbine capturing the six-furlong Star Shoot on the Tapeta and the William D. Graham Memorial on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course. Last out, in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen at one mile on Woodbine’s inner turf, Sister Peacock set the early pace before finishing third, defeated less than four lengths.
Simon said the move from Tapeta to turf was a natural one for Sister Peacock.
“She’s bred for it and she handled the synthetic so well that we thought she could turf,” said Simon. “She came back to Woodbine this year and won a synthetic sprint stakes and then took a turf sprint stakes rather easily.
“After that, we tried her in a Grade 3 going a mile on the turf,” continued Simon. “She‘ll probably get a mile, but she’ll beat better horses going one turn up to about seven-eighths.”
Simon said the tighter turns at Saratoga should suit the speedy Sister Peacock.
“She won’t mind it. She ran on the seven-eighths turf course at Gulfstream and handled it well. Last time on the inner turf here, she handled it just fine, so I don’t think it will be a problem,” said Simon.
Chris Landeros, who piloted Sister Peacock to a narrow neck defeat in the Mrs. Presidentress, has the call from post 3.
A talented Galway field includes a formidable pair trained by Wes Ward for Hat Creek Racing in Chelsea Cloisters and Abyssinian.
Chelsea Cloisters, a bay daughter of First Samurai, won her April 2018 debut by eight lengths at Keeneland, propelling her to an off-the-board effort in the Group 2 Queen Mary at Ascot. The well-traveled filly next shipped to France where she landed second in the Group 3 Prix du Bois.
Upon return to North America, Chelsea Cloisters posted a trio of runner-up efforts in the Bolton Landing at Saratoga, the Indian Summer at Keeneland and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs.
The consistent filly has posted a pair of third-place efforts to start her sophomore season in the Limestone Turf Sprint at Keeneland and last out in an allowance on May 25 at Belmont Park. Jose Ortiz has the call from post 6.
Abyssinian, a gray daughter of Cairo Prince, graduated by seven lengths at second asking in the slop in May 2018 at Belmont Park. She followed up with a front-running romp on the Gulfstream Park turf in February, and has subsequently hit the board in the Palisades Turf Sprint at Keeneland finishing third and the Mamzelle at Churchill when second.
Last out, Abyssinian posted a fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Quick Call against the boys at the Spa. Hall of Famer John Velazquez retains the mount from the inside post.
Godolphin homebred Elsa captured the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante in November at one mile on the Del Mar turf to mark her first stakes score for trainer Michael Stidham. The Animal Kingdom bay next finished second in the one-mile Shantel Lanerie at Fair Grounds in February ahead of finishing eighth, defeated less than three lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Florida Oaks won by Turf Tiara starlet Concrete Rose.
Elsa shortens up to 5 1/2-furlongs, the distance of her first-out maiden win at Laurel Park last July, and will have the services of Jose Lezcano from post 7.
Stidham will also saddle three-time winner Missmizz for owner DARRS. The Mizzen Mast grey won her first two starts on the Tampa Bay turf and last out notched a 1 1/4-length score in the Blue Sparkler at the Galway distance on the Monmouth green. Boasting a record of 3-1-1 from seven starts, Missmizz will leave from post 4 under Tyler Gaffalione.
Rounding out a competitive field are Brooke Marie [post 2, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], Karama [post 5, Mychel Sanchez], O’Keeffe [post 8, Manny Franco], Bohemian Bourbon [post 9, Julien Leparoux], and Eyeinthesky [post 10, Joel Rosario]. Tobago and Peaceful are on the also-eligible list.
The Galway is slated as Race 9 on today’s 10-race card. The first post is scheduled for 1 p.m.