Sue’s Fortune strikes pay dirt in G2 Adirondack

Saturday, August 11th, 2018

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

By Sarah Mace

For the second year in a row, a New York-bred juvenile filly got the better of a top-flight field to win Saratoga’s Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack Stakes. Last year Twin Creeks Racing Stables’ Pure Silver annexed the race to for her third win in a row. This time around Sue’s Fortune (Jump Start), a homebred for Richard Nicolai’s Fortune Farm and second-time starter, earned the bragging rights after making a winning move in the far turn.

When she was unveiled on July 5 in a 5 1/2-furlong state-bred maiden special weight at Belmont Park, Sue’s Fortune broke on top and led every step of the way to score an impressive 8 1/2 length victory. Posting three interim works, she flagged to trainer Jeremiah Englehart in her August 5 move, a :49 second flat half-mile over the Saratoga training track, that she was ready to go 6 1/2 furlongs and face the big guns.

Out of the gate well from the outside post of six as the 7-2 third choice, Sue’s Fortune sat off the pace-setters in fourth in the two-path. Meanwhile 7-5 favorite Lyrical Lady set the pace, a half-length ahead of Mucho Amor, Guacamole and Grandma Gertie through a sharp 21.72 quarter-mile over the “good” going.

NYRA/Arianna Spadoni

When the field was midway around the far turn, Alvarado decided to take his game to the leaders. He made a confident move, passed horses and challenged Lyrical Lady directly. By the time he and Sue’s Fortune straightened away at the top of the stretch, they were fully in command.

Extending the lead to three lengths and appearing to gear down in the final sixteenth, Alvarado asked the filly for one final surge as Virginia Eloise, well behind early, closed with intent. Sue’s Fortune got home safely with a half-length to spare in a final time of 1:19.83. Virginia Eloise in second finished 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Guacamole. Mucho Amor, Lyrical Lady and Grandma Gertie checked in next in order more than seven lengths back. [VIDEO REPLAY]

Alvarado, who had contemplated sending the filly from the bell, described his race strategy as “Plan B.” “We tried to go with Plan A, which was hoping she broke like [in her debut],” Alvarado said. “She broke good, but not as sharp as last time. We wanted to put a little pressure early, though. I was sitting in a perfect position. By the three-eighths pole, she started pulling me. I saw horses struggling and I saw horses coming near, so I thought I had to take a shot at that point to let me filly go and hope she would hold. It worked out.”

Englehart, for his part, confessed to some late-stretch nerves: “Deep stretch, I was a little worried. Top of the stretch, I felt pretty good. I thought Junior made the right move. He looked behind him; he thought the leader was getting a little leg weary. He wanted to take the race then and see if they could come and catch her, and we held on. I had a bad beat the other day, so I’m going to enjoy this one.”

Englehart was pleased to see Sue’s Fortune’s budding versatility. “I think the biggest thing for her is her first race. She goes out she takes the lead and she runs away. This race she stalked. She’s a racehorse. …She’s won on the lead [and] she’s won off the lead, so hopefully now we can get her to relax even more and finish strong as well.”

Sue’s Fortune, who has earned $147,200 from her two victories, is named for Sue Carlson of Carlland Stables in Avon. As Englehart explained, “Sue does all of Dick’s [Richard Nicolai’s] broodmares and raises the foals so he named one after her. He’s got to name some more after her now!”

Nicolai and his wife are among Englehart’s first clients. “You want to talk about someone who puts their heart and soul in the game. No one deserves this more. It took me 12 years to win a stakes for them. That will tell you how patient [Dick] is. I’m glad he gets to enjoy this.”

Sue’s Fortune is out of Democrat Taxes, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Catienus who won five races and hit the board in 16 of 20 starts. Democrat Taxes has produced four winners, but Sue’s Fortune is the first to earn black type. The mare foaled a full brother to Sue’s Fortune this year and was bred to Dialed In.

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