Ballerina Stakes 2021 Entries: Gamine draws the inside

Bob Baffert has won the right to field horses at Saratoga and his best one ships over for the Grade I Ballerina
Bob Baffert has won the right to field horses at Saratoga and his best one ships over for the Grade I Ballerina

The card at Saratoga is stacked on Saturday with several races that could be absolute thrillers. Essential Quality might be an overwhelming favorite in the Travers but he isn’t the Nap of the Day for Neil Monnery who struggles to see anyone surpassing the outstanding Gamine in the Grade I Ballerina

Bob Baffert’s four-year-old has drawn the inside Post for the race and is part of a field of seven entered...

Ballerina Stakes 2021 Entries & Post Positions
  • Post Position
  • Horse

Post Position

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  • Gamine
  • Lake Avenue
  • Casual
  • Truth Hurts
  • Sconsin
  • Estilo Talentoso
  • Ce Ce

It would be fair to say that there are more question marks surrounding Gamine these days than there were at the end of 2020. Her only defeat was in the Kentucky Oaks and since then she’s cut down to one turn and has won on four straight occasions. However in recent outings whilst the result was never in doubt, she hasn’t looked the dominant sprinter that she did.

Whilst those performances on track haven’t blown anyone away, if you look at her recent works then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. She went 6f in 1:11:40 and has also recorded 5f in 58:20. Absolutely monster numbers those and she wouldn’t look out of place in the H. Allen Jerkens taking on Life is Good and Jackie’s Warrior.

You won’t be staggered by the fact she isn’t taking on the boys though as this is a ‘Win and You’re in’ Race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Gamine won that race in 2020 and is likely to be the overwhelming favorite to defend her crown back at Del Mar in November. This daughter of Into Mischief is already the Even money favorite on the international Ante-Post markets for that BC Race.

She has already faced off with Sconsin and Estilo Talentoso in the Derby City Distaff on the Kentucky Derby undercard and saw them both off. The former did follow that up by winning in the Grade III Winning Colors before tasting defeat in the Roxelana Stakes. This filly hasn’t traveled outside Kentucky in 11 starts and that would cause me a smidgen of concern.

As for Estilo Talentoso, Juan Arriagada brings arguably the best horse in his stable to the race. She hasn’t finished outside the top three in any of her five starts so far in 2021 and included in that was a victory at the Grade III Bed o’ Roses up at Belmont. Not a bad wildcard pick but if you are going to straight up oppose Gamine then you should look at Ce Ce.

This five-year-old mare has bounced between one and two turns throughout her career but last time out back at seven furlongs she looked impressive in winning the Grade II Princess Rooney down at Gulfstream. Add in a 5f bullet in 59:00 last week then you can see why this daughter of Elusive Quality could be the fly in the ointment for Baffert’s filly. 

Casual, Lake Avenue and Truth Hurts make up the field of seven. Of the three longer shots - Lake Avenue might be the one who has the best chance to hit the board. This Bill Mott trained four-year-old has shown up in her past two outings being bested only by Bell's the One and Estilo Talentoso.

J.N. Campbell will be back later on Friday to handicap this race along with the card at Saratoga...

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