Eskimo Kisses was one cool and relaxed racehorse Sunday morning at Saratoga, the day after earning her first graded stakes victory in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama with a thrilling last-to-first journey.
“She came back good with no problems,” said trainer Kenny McPeek. “She needed to run her 'A' game and she ran more than that. We were hoping for a fast pace and that they would kind of overlook us sitting back there. With her running style, it's got to set up and you can't make her do too much early or she won't finish. I'm extremely proud of what she did.”
Eskimo Kisses, with Jose Ortiz following McPeek's instructions perfectly, bided her time in last place, and took charge in the stretch for a 6 1/2-length win. Before the Alabama, the chestnut To Honor and Serve filly finished fourth in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 22 in her first start since she was fourth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on May 4.
“The Coaching Club Oaks was more of a fitness race for us,” said McPeek. “She needed to put some weight on her after the Kentucky Oaks. She had been running hard and traveling so I sent her over to my farm and we gave her some rest in the backyard of my farm for four to six weeks. She put on some weight and she came back great.”
McPeek is looking at the Grade 1 Spinster on October 7 at Keeneland for Eskimo Kisses' next start. The Grade 1 Cotillion on September 22 at Parx Racing also is a possibility, he said.
“Anytime you can check a prestigious race like this off the list, it's a good deal,” said McPeek of the Alabama. “I'm really proud of her and how she got it done. We'll most likely target the Spinster. The Cotillion might be a little short for her, but we'll let her tell us the best spot.”
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