Victory Ride: Hard to look past speedy Indyanne

Updated: August 21, 2008, 8:09 PM ET
By Mike Welsch | Daily Racing Form

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- From the standpoint of pure speed, the fastest 3-year-old running at Saratoga on Travers Day may not be in the main event or the Grade 1 King's Bishop. Instead, it could arguably be the undefeated and untested filly Indyanne, who will be an odds-on favorite in the $150,000 Victory Ride Stakes. The Grade 3 Victory Ride drew a field of eight 3-year-old fillies and will be decided at six furlongs.

Indyanne, a daughter of Indian Charlie owned by Jill and David Heerensperger, has won her four starts by a combined margin of nearly 33 lengths. Included among those victories was a six-length cakewalk in the Bay Meadows Debutante to conclude her 2-year-old campaign and an even easier 9 1/2-length triumph in Calder's Grade 3 Azalea Stakes on July 12.

Indyanne's final time of 1:10.82 in the Azalea was .59 of a second faster than the world's premier sprinter, Benny the Bull, covered the same distance over the same track 90 minutes later. Indyanne earned a career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure for her performance in the Azalea, far and away the top number in the Victory Ride field.

"We passed the Test and waited for the Victory Ride strictly because of the timing," said trainer Greg Gilchrist, who three years ago came here to win the King's Bishop with the then-unbeaten Lost in the Fog. "Running her in the Test meant bringing her back in three weeks, and I've learned when you ship and race in south Florida during the summer you need to give them a little extra time."

Although Indyanne appears to tower over her competition, Gilchrist is taking nothing for granted.

"It looks like a very competitive group. Tom Proctor's Storm Cat filly looks like a really nice horse and perhaps the one we've got to worry about the most," said Gilchrist, referring to Sly Storm. "The one thing I'm still not sure about is who we really have to outrun. What I do know is that she's very fast and at this stage probably as good as Lost in the Fog was at the same stage of his career other than the fact she's less seasoned than he was when he came to Saratoga. My theory with both of them remains the same. To get to the top of the mountain you've got to take one step at a time."

Gilchrist said he will let Indyanne's competition dictate her strategy.

"If she breaks good and makes the lead again, fine," said Gilchrist. "If someone wants it more than we do, they can have it."

Sly Storm, like Indyanne, is limited in experience but loaded with talent and has 3 victories in 4 starts, including Monmouth Park's Mongo Queen Stakes five weeks earlier.

"My filly can run, I think she'll get better, and this is the last chance for a 3-year-old filly sprinter to run with her own kind in a graded stakes," Proctor said. "Unfortunately we caught a filly as good as Indyanne. But we've got a preferred post, on the outside, and should find out where we stand on Saturday."

Among the other leading contenders in the Victory Ride are Grade 3 winner Palanka City, a distant fourth in the Test, Grade 2 winner More Happy, and J Z Warrior.