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Grade 1-winner Bell’s the One headlines G2 Honorable Miss

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Lothenbach Stables’ Bell’s the One, a multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire, leads a talented field of nine in today’s Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss, a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Neil Pessin, Bell’s the One, who boasts a record of 18-8-3-2, captured the 2020 Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs by a nose over Serengeti Empress. Her graded stakes ledger also includes scores in the 2019 Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland and last year’s Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill.

The 5-year-old Majesticperfection bay enters from a three-quarter length score in the Roxelana under returning rider Corey Lanerie on June 19 at Churchill.

“I’m really not scared of any sprint filly in the country right now, to be honest,” Pessin said. “It’s just a question of if she runs her race. If she does, she’s going to be tough to beat no matter who shows up. I respect them all, but I don’t fear any of them. I’m very confident in my filly’s abilities.”

Bell’s the One rated closer to the pace last out in the 6 1/2-furlong Roxelana before popping outside rivals to secure the win.

“I’m trying to get her a little more that way, so we’re not so pace dependent,” Pessin said. “In her last race, they didn’t go fast early but we weren’t far off of it. She was stuck in between horses – there were three across the track – and Corey let her suck back a little bit so she could get to the outside. When she turned for home, she just kicked on. She won by three-quarters, but it was a handy three-quarters.”

Bell’s the One launched her current campaign with a narrow loss to Kimari in the Grade 1 Madison on April 3 at Keeneland ahead of a fourth-place finish in her title defense in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill in May.

“Kimari beat us at Keeneland and it was my mare’s first out of the year,” Pessin said. “We also got stuck on the inside and didn’t get to bounce outside. If we’d got outside, I think we’d have beat her that day.”

Bell’s the One breezed a bullet half-mile in 47 flat on July 20 over the Arlington Park synthetic and will arrive in Saratoga on Sunday.

“It was an OK work. She went a little faster in the first part than what I wanted,” Pessin said. “She finished good and did it fairly handily. It didn’t take a lot out of her. Fitness wise, I don’t have any issues. It’s just a matter of if she handles the shipping and likes the track.”

Lanerie retains the mount from the outermost post 9.

“He knows her well and rode her excellent last time,” Pessin said.

Godolphin homebred Lake Avenue enters in search of her first graded stakes win since the 2019 Grade 2 Demoiselle in the final start of her 2-year-old campaign.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 4-year-old Tapit chestnut was winless in four starts last year but has enjoyed a resurgence in 2021, posting wins in an optional-claimer at Gulfstream in February ahead of a 6 3/4-length score in the Heavenly Prize Invitational in March at the Big A.

Last out, Lake Avenue made the lead at the stretch call of the Grade 3 Bed o’ Roses but could not stave off Estilo Talentoso, who prevailed by a neck in the seven-furlong sprint on a sloppy Belmont main track on June 4.

Junior Alvarado will pilot Lake Avenue from post 4.

Dennis Narlinger’s graded-stakes placed Sadie Lady, a 5-year-old New York-bred daughter of Freud, boasts a record of 20-8-1-3 with purse earnings of $406,322.

The speedy mare won the open-company Correction in her seasonal debut at Aqueduct in March ahead of a strong second in the Grade 3 Vagrancy on May 8 at Belmont. Last out, Sadie Lady went gate-to-wire in the six-furlong Dancin Renee for state-breds.

Trainer Rob Atras said Sadie Lady, who breezed a half-mile in 49.26 Friday on the Saratoga main track, may consider waiting for the state-bred Union Avenue Handicap on August 19.

“We breezed her this morning and she went really well. It was just an easy half with a nice little gallop out,” Atras said. “We’re probable to run but there’s also a New York-bred stake in just over three weeks, so we’ll talk it over with the owner.”

Atras said Sadie Lady is at her best on the engine.

“She runs her top race when she can get out front and dictate it a little bit,” Atras said.

Jose Ortiz retains the mount from post 3.

Almost Heaven Stables’ Honey I’m Good enters from a neck win in the six-furlong Regret, contested at six furlongs over a muddy Monmouth Park main track on July 3.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the 5-year-old Shackleford mare was a gate-to-wire winner of the six-furlong Harmony Lodge over muddy going at Belmont last June.

Honey I’m Good will emerge from post 7 under Ricardo Santana, Jr.

Truth Hurts, trained and co-owned by Chad Summers with J Stables, added blinkers and romped to a 5 3/4-length score last out under Luis Saez in the off-the-turf Perfect Sting at one mile over a sloppy and sealed Belmont main track on July 3.

The 4-year-old Ontario-bred daughter of Tonalist tried her luck at longer distances last season, including a third in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City at Woodbine.

Truth Hurts breezed a half-mile in 48.54 on July 20 on the Saratoga main track under Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Summers said he is cautiously optimistic after her last-out win.

“I think it was good for her. The first time with blinkers on she was more aggressive,” Summers said. “She came out of the gate good, and sat a perfect trip. I’m proud of how she finished up and she galloped out strong. She came out of the race like nothing. I know we’ll be a big price on the board, but she’s doing so well. Irad came out and breezed her the other day. He liked her and it gives me a lot of confidence going into Wednesday.”

Truth Hurts, who graduated at first asking sprinting 6 1/2-furlongs in December 2019 at the Big A, will shorten up to six furlongs for the first time.

“I think seven [furlongs] is probably her game, but she can go six,” Summers said. “With Sadie Lady and a few of the others with speed in there, I’m hoping we can work out a good trip.”

Rounding out a competitive field are Ain’t No Elmers [post 1, Adam Beschizza], Reagan’s Edge [post 2, Jose Lezcano], Don’t Call Me Mary [post 6, Saez], and Miss Mosaic [post 8, Manny Franco].

The Honorable Miss is slated as Race 9 on today’s 10-race card. The first post is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.

Cab Calloway

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Thomas Albrecht, Vincent Fusaro and James Klein’s Ocala Dream will see an extra eighth of a mile when targeting a second career stakes win in today’s 18th running of the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway for eligible New York-sired sophomores going one mile over the inner turf at Saratoga Race Course.

The NYSSS Cab Calloway, which honors the late jazz musician and big band leader, is one of two stakes events on today’s program, bolstered by the Grade 2, $200,000 Honorable Miss for fillies and mares going six furlongs over the main track.

Ocala Dream arrives at the NYSSS Cab Calloway off a victory in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid on June 19 at Belmont Park going seven furlongs. The son of the late Effinex settled comfortably in third down the backstretch before angling out a path and establishing command in upper stretch to win by one length.

He notched his highest Beyer Speed Figure with an 83 in his previous maiden special weight victory at 1 1/16 miles over the Widener turf when breaking sharply, taking back to third along the rail and collared pacesetter Bar Fourteen in the final furlong to win by 1 ½ lengths.

After making his debut over the main track last June at Belmont Park, Ocala Dream faced open company finishing a good fourth to subsequent stakes-placed Zippy Baby at 58-1 odds last July at Saratoga. He emerged off a nine-month layoff in April when a good third against his New York-bred counterparts at Belmont Park.

“He’s always been a colt that we’ve thought a lot of,” Morley said. “He ran extremely well in his second start last year going long on the turf in an open company maiden. He picked up a bit of a knock training for a maiden at the end of the meet, so being state-bred and a grass horse we put him away for the winter and brought him back earlier this year.”

Morley said Ocala Dream was more poised second time off the layoff.

“I’m not big on tuning these horses up to win first time off the bench so I was pleased to see him finish third,” Morley said. “He was very, very good in his maiden victory. I was little concerned about cutting back to seven-eighths at Belmont, but [jockey] Junior [Alvarado] gave me all the confidence in the world that the horse would put himself in a good position and seven furlongs wouldn’t be a problem.”

Ocala Dream will see two turns for the first time since running at Saratoga last year.

“The nice thing about Wednesday is that we’ve already gone two turns and he’s run well here going two turns before,” Morley said. “He’s a very cool customer. He’ll put himself in a good position.”

Ocala Dream was bred by Mahwhinney, Lieberman, Beglin & Coutsodontis and was bought for $50,000 at the 2020 OBS March Sale, where he was consigned by Daylight Farm Racing and Sales.

Alvarado, who has piloted Ocala Dream to both lifetime victories, retains the mount from post 4.

Trainer Barclay Tagg sends out Step Dancer, who bested open company in the Awad in October at Belmont Park.

Owned by Hayward R. Pressman and Diamond M Stable, the son of War Dancer was a late-closing second in the NYSSS Spectacular Bid last out after finishing a close third by a neck in a New York-bred allowance optional claimer on May 13 at Belmont Park.

Step Dancer, trained by Barclay Tagg, was a 24-1 winner on debut over the Mellon turf course going 1 1/16 miles before finishing third in the Grade 2 Pilgrim in October at Belmont Park.

Jockey Dylan Davis has never finished off the board when riding Step Dancer and will retain the mount for today’s engagement.

“He’s a young horse and he’s still learning a little bit,” said Tagg, who saddled 2008 winner Doc N Roll. “Dylan rides him perfectly. He likes him and gets along with him and the owner likes him.”

Step Dancer, bred by Sugar Plum Farm and Richard Pressman, breaks from post 6.

Completing the field are Dreamer’s Disease [post 1, David Cohen], It’s Gravy [post 2, Joel Rosario], Tales of Saratoga [post 3, Jose Ortiz], Gator Bite [post 7, Jose Lezcano], Barrage [post 8, Irad Ortiz, Jr.], and Devious Mo [post 9, Luis Saez]. Market Alert [post 5] has been entered for main track only.

The NYSSS Cab Calloway is slated as Race 3 on today’s 10-race card, which offers a first post of 1:05 p.m.

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