October 28, 2015

There are two races held at Saratoga each year that are meant to test the speed, class and endurance of the creme of the 3-year-old crop. The first is the G1 Travers S. for males. The second is the G1 Alabama S. for females. Both are contested at 1 1/4 miles over the main track, and both have been won by some of the sport’s greatest-ever runners.

So what does it say that Embellish the Lace not only won the Alabama in scintillating fashion over a tough field, but that her half-brother, Afleet Express, won the Midsummer Derby?

It says that this is a serious family, and when Embellish the Lace enters the ring as Hip 175 at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale, serious breeders will indeed be looking at a world-class broodmare prospect.

First, some history. Embellish the Lace was purchased for $320,000 as a yearling in 2013 by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, who entrusted this daughter of Super Saver to trainer Anthony Dutrow.

Embellish the Lace showed early she was a horse to be reckoned with. She broke her maiden by over 10 lengths as a 2-year-old, then came back to romp by 13 3/4 lengths in her sophomore bow. In just her fifth career start and in her second start in stakes company, Embellish the Lace was supported at 6-1 chance in the Alabama, a came through with a dominating front-running score.

Put right on the lead, Embellish the Lace set solid fractions while closely pursued by the Kentucky Oaks winner Lovely Maria and the G1 Acorn/G1 CCA Oaks heroine Curalina. That pair simply couldn’t keep pace at the quarter pole—fading to finish 4 3/4 and 7 3/4 lengths back, respectively—as Embellish the Lace was full of run to beat I’m a Chatterbox by 1 1/4 lengths.

Embellish the Lace’s final time in the Alabama, 2:01.97, was just two ticks off Keen Ice’s winning time of 2:01.57 in his victory over American Pharoah in this year’s Travers.

In fact, since 1980, only five fillies have shaded 2:02 in the Alabama: Maplejinsky, Go For Wand, Flute, Questing (GB) and Embellish the Lace. By way of comparison, the 2014 winner, Stopchargingmaria, won in 2:05.14. Royal Delta’s 2011 winning time was 2:03.13.

A quick glance at Embellish the Lace’s catalogue page reveals the source of her brilliance. In addition to being by the exciting young sire Super Saver, the best-bred Kentucky Derby winner in recent memory, Embellish the Lace hails from a family that superbly mixes speed and stamina influences. Her own stakes-placed dam, Expanse, is by the Mr. Prospector stallion Distant View, a top miler in England whose wins included the G1 Sussex S.

Embellish the Lace’s brother Afleet Express was a versatile sort who won on debut sprinting six furlongs, and later beat Fly Down and First Dude in a thrilling renewal of the 2010 Travers.

Embellish the Lace’s dam is a half to the hard-hitting Grade 2 winner Eye of the Tiger, and to the SW Wildwood Flower, who has turned into an excellent producer in her own right. Wildwood Flower is the dam of this year’s G1 Florida Derby winner Materiality, and to the Grade 2 winner and G1 Kentucky Oaks second My Miss Sophia.

Embellish the Lace – a world-class racehorse, a world-class broodmare prospect.

Click here to download Alan Porter’s analysis of Embellish the Lace. 

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