The P.G. Johnson Stakes is a chance for the turf fillies to show off while running 1 1/6 miles at Saratoga. Some quality fillies have exited this race to earn further blacktype. TAPITSFLY captured the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fililes Turf. In 2019 KATHMANBLU placed in both races and in 2012, WATSDACHANCES won the PG Johnson and was second in the Breeders’ Cup.
ANCIENT GODDESS (Iffraaj (GB) - Jezebel (GB), by Owington (GB)) raced twice in France, finishing second in her debut and winning in her second attempt, both times against the colts. The second place finisher came back to win. There isn’t much blacktype in her female family. She’s a large two-turn looking filly that should appreciate the extra distance. Trainer John Terranova breezed her an easy four furlongs over the turf course six days ago. Ancient Goddess will receive first time Lasix.
SUNDAY SONNET (Any Given Saturday - Red Piano, by Red Ransom) tries the lawn for the first time after a dominating 7 ½ length performance over a sloppy Saratoga track. Chances are good that she’ll like the turf. Sunday Sonnet is a half sister to multiple Grade 3 turf star PIANIST (More Than Ready) and two other half siblings placed over grass. Her damsire was a leading sire in England and Australia, while her second damsire was the Classic chef-de-race and top turf horse Nureyev. Trainer Kelly Breen wins with 22% first tine grass starters.
PARTISAN POLITICS (More Than Ready - Bluegrass Princess, by Dynaformer) was third in her 5 ½ furlong debut, beaten a bare neck by Rainha Da Bateria. The farther the better for this filly. Her dam won the 1 1/16 mile Valley View Stakes (G-3) and placed in two graded stakes at 1 1/8 miles. Trainer Chad Brown is a top conditioner of turf runners.
FLYING TIPAT (Tapit - Flying Marlin, by Marlin) is the only filly in the field who has raced at 1 1/16 miles over the lawn. She just missed in her debut by ¾ length after going four wide on the turn. Flying Tipat is a full sister to BC Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine TAPITSFLY, who also won the P. G. Johnson Stakes in 2009. The full sisters are conditioned by Dale Romans.
MAGNIFICENT MARGO (Congrats - Holy Miss, by Holy Bull) angled out three wide and nailed her debut by a nose at 5 ½ furlongs. She’s a half sister to the stakes winning veterans GENERAL CHARLEY and TRULY LUCKY (both by Truluck) and the stakes placed juvenile Holy Mission (Open Forum). Trainer Mike Maker gets 21% winners in non-graded stakes.
RAINHA DA BATERIA (Broken Vow - Amelia, by Dixieland Band) was mentioned on the Kiddie List in July. After settling in sixth place for most of the race, Rainha Da Bateria unleashed a furious charge to win a blanket photo finish by a head. She’s a half to MSW KINDERGARDEN KID (by Dynaformer), stakes winner ASSATEAGUE (by Stormy Atlantic) and stakes placed He's Had Enough (by Tapit). In this distaff family, the colts have proven to be the better runners. Out of three fillies, only one has hit the board and she’s a stakes winner. Four of five half siblings raced and hit the board as 2YO. The first two dams own blacktype and the second dam is a full sister to Champion 3YO Filly ALTHEA. Third dam is the blue hen, Courtly Dee. Rainha Da Bateria is trained by Graham Motion. Only 6% of his grass horses win second time out.
SLAVA (Sharp Humor - Splendorella, by Deputy Minister) is the most experienced filly in the field with three races under her girth. After winning her second race sprinting at Gulfstream, she finished a distant second in an allowance race to eventual stakes placed Naval Command. Slava is the second of her dam’s foals to race. There’s no blacktype in the first two generations of her distaff family. Her dam won on Polytrack, placed over dirt, but was unplaced in her sole turf race. Trainer Gennadi Dorochenko is 3-76 with turf runners.
The PG Johnson Stakes has been contested seven times. Three of those editions were won by pace setters. One pace presser and mid-pack runner won, while two winners unleashed their run from the back of the pack.
There appears to be very little early pace in the PG Johnson. Sunday Sonnet has won on the lead and could be the pace setter. If she slows them down enough, she could wire the field. Magnificent Margo and Slava have also raced near the pace. These young fillies are discovering their best running style, so any one of them could change tactics and be closer to the pace if it is slow.
#5 MAGNIFICANT MARGO
#1 ANCIENT GODDESS
#6 RAINHA DA BATERIA
#4 FLYING TIPAT – LONGSHOT SELECTION