Saturday’s $200,000 Troy Stakes (G3) at Saratoga turned out to be all about Imprimis – first in a good sense, that the classy comebacker was back to his best, but then in an unfortunate sense, as he was disqualified for interference in the stretch. The beneficiary was 7-1 shot American Sailor, the early pacesetter who held second and thus found himself awarded a first career graded victory.
Raj Jagnanan’s American Sailor, an 8-year-old veteran, has been plying his trade mostly on the Mid-Atlantic circuit. Trained by Wayne Potts and piloted by Tyler Gaffalione, the City Zip gelding showed his characteristic zip through fractions of :21.92 and :44.01 on the firm Mellon turf. Shekky Shebaz chased in second, while Imprimis tracked in third until breezing into contention as they straightened for home.
Traveling like a sure winner, Imprimis was in the process of clearing away from the early leaders when the 2.95-1 chance came in under Jose Ortiz’s right-handed stick. Shekky Shebaz was put in a squeeze play, just as Pulsate was simultaneously trying to get through between him and American Sailor. Irad Ortiz had to steady Shekky Shebaz and come around, but the stubborn American Sailor kept his head in front as the pair passed the wire.
None could pose a threat, however, to Imprimis who galloped by 2 1/4 lengths. No sooner had he clocked 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:01.27 than the inquiry sign was posted.
Had Shekky Shebaz managed to pass American Sailor, perhaps the stewards would have let the clear-cut winner alone. But apparently in the view that Shekky Shebaz was cost a better placing, they demoted Imprimis to third.
American Sailor was worth $16.80 to his lucky backers. Shekky Shebaz was moved up to second. Chewing Gum, the 2-1 favorite, was along for fourth. Pulsate was a troubled fifth, followed by Lonhtwist and Pure Sensation, who was never in position after getting off a beat slow.
American Sailor, whose only prior stakes score came in the 2016 Bucharest Turf Sprint at Sam Houston, sports a mark of 45-15-9-3, $568,264. He’s also placed in six stakes, including a runner-up effort in the July 18 Wolf Hill at Monmouth last out.
Bred by KatieRich Farms in Kentucky, American Sailor sold for $50,000 as a Keeneland September yearling and $100,000 OBS April juvenile. The bay is out of the Yes It’s True mare Yesshesarocket, from the further family of Grade 2 scorers Payton d’Oro and Passion for Action.
One race later, Jose Ortiz bounced right back by guiding the Chad Brown-trained My Sister Nat to a sentimental first U.S. win in the $150,000 Waya Stakes (G3). Campaigned by Peter Brant, the co-owner of race honoree Waya, My Sister Nat is a half-sister to his champion Sistercharlie.
Stablemate Fools Gold, the defending champion, strode forward before the first of three turns and carved out tepid splits of :25.46, :50.72, 1:17.34, 1:41.76, and 2:06.26 on the firm inner course. Mrs. Sippy, the 1.45-1 favorite, raced a bit too keenly in her belated reappearance as she proved hard to settle on the inside. My Sister Nat, the 2.45-1 second choice, was unhurried near the back.
Fools Gold tried to put the race away swinging for home, but Mrs. Sippy and the rallying My Sister Nat emerged onto the scene and collared her inside the final furlong. My Sister Nat found a little more than Mrs. Sippy, prevailing by a neck in 2:30.26 for 1 1/2 miles.
The top two pulled 1 1/4 lengths clear of Fools Gold. Beau Belle ran evenly in fourth. Olympic Games was a non-threatening fifth, and Quiet Dignity, who stalked Fools Gold early, tired to trail the field of six. The main-track-only Another Broad was scratched.
Bred by Ecurie des Monceaux, My Sister Nat was sold for just €20,000 as a yearling at Arqana in February 2016 – before Sistercharlie and their other notable half-sibling, current European champion Sottsass, became famous. Their dam, the Galileo mare Starlet’s Sister, is herself a full sister to Group 3 scorer Leo’s Starlet.
My Sister Nat initially raced for Gemini Stud and trainer Francis-Henri Graffard in France, where she missed narrowly in the Prix Chloe (G3), placed third in the Prix de la Nonette (G2), and broke through in the 2018 Prix Bertrand de Tarragon (G3). My Sister Nat concluded her sophomore campaign with a sixth in the Prix de l’Opera (G1).
By that point, Sistercharlie was becoming a U.S. champion, and Sottsass was a promising juvenile racing in the name of Brant’s White Birch Farm. Brant added to his family collection by acquiring My Sister Nat privately.
Winless in four stateside starts in 2019, My Sister Nat nevertheless came up just a neck shy in the Nov. 30 Long Island (G3). The Acclamation mare returned with a promising second to front-running Mean Mary in the June 27 New York (G2) and moved forward here. Sottsass added the June 14 Prix Ganay (G1) to his resume, and Sistercharlie will try to make it a sibling summer treble in the Aug. 23 Diana (G1).