Kaleem Shah's homebred American Gal was a four-length winner of Saturday's Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga, earning her first top-level victory in just her second start under the care of new trainer Simon Callaghan. Previously trained by Bob Baffert to a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and a second in the Starlet, the 3-year-old daughter of Concord Point covered seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.26 under Jose Ortiz.
“We knew she was sitting on a big performance,” Callaghan said. “She came into this race so good after her last race, and for once the race went perfectly to plan. She got a great trip and she dominated today. I think cutting her back to seven-eighths is her optimal distance. We'll take her back to California and think about the Breeders' Cup and which way to go about but we'll just enjoy today.”
Breaking from the far outside post in the field of ten sophomore fillies, American Gal was hung out four-wide all the way down the backside and around the far turn as she was a part of the four-way struggle for the lead. Ortiz held her no more than a half-length off leader Chalon through fractions of :22.42 and :44.53, with Vertical Oak and Faypien between those two at the front.
Turning for home, American Gal was fighting gamely from her outside position. She got her head in front of Chalon, but the final sixteenth of a mile saw American Gal separate herself from the field, pulling away to win by about four lengths. Fellow west coast shipper Faypien held on to be second, while Tequilita made up some ground late to finish third.
“She finished very well,” Ortiz said. “I just wanted to get a clean break and I got it. We found some room very well. She was impressive for me today.”
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, American Gal is out of the graded stakes-placed American Story, by Ghostzapper. She has now won four of her six starts and never finished off the board, earning over $700,000.
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