Friday feature honors Fleet Indian

The first of two Sunset Fridays is today at Saratoga with post time scheduled for 2:30 PM EDT.  The late start means only 9 races are carded, but if you feel short-changed, fear not, there are 11 races scheduled for Saturday. 

The featured event today is the Fleet Indian for older NY bred fillies and mares going 7 panels on the main track.  It honors the daughter of Indian Charlie owned by Paul Saylor, who won 13 of 19 starts in her career, including 5 graded stakes at 5 different tracks.  She began her career in the barn of trainer Jimmy Toner and showed immediate potential winning her first four starts.  That prompted an attempt at the big time as she started in the Alabama in 2004, but didn’t factor in the decision checking in a well-beaten fifth.  After struggling to stay healthy in 2005 she was turned over to Todd Pletcher for her 2006 campaign. 

She won her first six starts in 2006 and among those were the Next Move, Sixty Sails, Obeah, and Delaware Handicap.  Her first attempt in a Grade I since the Alabama came at Saratoga in the Personal Ensign and the demons who plagued her two years prior had clearly been exorcised.  She soundly defeated Balletto that afternoon and subsequently did so once again by a narrower margin in the Beldame.  After that event Fleet Indian was the leader in the clubhouse in the Older Female division and many considered the Breeders’ Cup Distaff a mere formality to finish her 2006 campaign.  Everything went wrong that day and she wound up being eased by jockey Jose Santos.  Her career was over but she’s already had two foals, one with Storm Cat who’s a 2YO in 2010 and the other with A.P. Indy in 2009.   Here’s to hoping her foals carry on her legacy.

In the Fleet Indian today, it seems as if #5 MEESE ROCKS will establish herself early as it appears as if she has a pace advantage in this field.  She’s coming in off of a win against N3X company at Monmouth where she battled early for the lead, pulled clear then hung on gamely late.  The biggest knocks on this gal are that she’s not the same horse when she can’t get the lead and the 7th furlong today could get awfully dicey. 

If Meese Rocks gets a little winded then #7 WICKED DIVA is certainly a lightly-raced filly who can jump up to win a race like this.  She enters off a win at a mile against N1X company but her high profile connections are going to garner a great amount of support from the public, as indicated by her morning line odds of 5/2.  If you’re thinking way outside the box, how about #2 EAGER EMMA?  She’s a winner over this surface and should get a good setup pace-wise.  She could kick off a very, very big weekend for trainer Nick Zito and jockey Jose Lezcano.

Here are the lifetime PPs for Fleet Indian, prior to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in 2

006 when she was pulled up and did not finish.

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