Uptowncharlybrown Stud's filly Dixie Serenade will be one of two Parx-based starters and the lone Pennsylvania-bred to break from the gate in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
The daughter of Uptowncharlybrown will make her first Grade 1 start and will run the route of 1 1/16 miles for the first time in her career. Her longest distance to date is seven furlongs at which she closed to win in the slop against allowance foes on May 13.
Trainer Eddie Coletti Jr. believes his filly has the talent and that her home field advantage with three wins and five placings from nine starts at Parx will help come post time.
“Let's hope it'll be a good thing,” Coletti said. “She's definitely bred for the distance so we'll take a shot. There's really no other races for her right now and she's doing good enough. We might as well really take a good shot at it. We have a little bit of an advantage I hope. We don't have to ship or get her excited about anything. She's at her normal routine everyday so it should work out.”
Fitness will not be a problem for the earner of $286,750 from 12 lifetime starts after her bullet one minute breeze over the track listed as good last Friday morning. That work followed a mile-long breeze in 1:45.1 on September 3. Coletti has been keeping her high level with mile-long jogs followed by gallops at the same distance each morning.
“She worked a really fast work a week ago so I really don't have to do much with her and like I said she's home at her own court so she's used to all the surroundings,” said Coletti. “I don't have to work at the paddock or gate or anything like that. We get her out first thing in the morning, that's her routine so we're trying to keep it.”
“I usually jog her a mile, then gallop her a mile,” Coletti added. “She's pretty fit. She's been running all year. I worked her a mile about three weeks ago. I think she worked good, came home real strong so I don't think the distance will be a problem. I think the Malibu Moon on her dam side is going to help her.”
Dixie Serenade broke her maiden in her third career start drawing off by four lengths on September 2 as a 2-year-old then ventured to Presque Isle Downs where she ran fifth over the Tapeta surface in the Mrs. Henry D. Paxson Memorial Stakes on September 17. She then followed up with a fourth and second place finish respectively against allowance competition to close out the year.
The strong-closing sprinter returned as a 3-year-old with a runner-up finish and two consecutive victories before shipping out to Penn National where she was bumped at the start and hung in the stretch for third in the New Start Stakes on June 2.
Coletti decided to take a chance and shipped his filly north to Belmont Park where she started in her first graded stakes, the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 8. Sent off at odds of 47 to 1, she remained at the rear of the pack behind seven others before unleashing a late run to win by a neck at the wire.
“It was a surprise just because I hadn't won a graded stake,” said Coletti. “It was a surprise that way, but looking at the numbers it looked like we had a shot. I was really confident we'd be on the board, but winning the race was a surprise. It was a great thing. It gives a lot of confidence and her numbers compare. Off the Ragozin numbers she compares so it's not a stretch. She handles the distance. She'll be right there. I don't see why she can't be. They're tough fillies don't get me wrong, but she's a tough filly too. It's a tough race.”
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