Queen’s Plate Victress Holy Helena Targeting Aug. 19 Alabama Stakes

Stronach Stable’s Queen’s Plate winner Holy Helena has settled in at Jimmy Jerkens’ Saratoga barn in good order and is likely to make her Spa debut in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on August 19, her trainer said on Friday morning.

Jerkens added that the Ontario-bred Ghostzapper filly is expected to work in the coming days. Last Saturday, she breezed a 50.33-second half-mile on the Oklahoma training track, her first work since she beat males with a 3 ½-length victory in the Queens Plate on July 2 at Woodbine Racetrack, the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown.

Unveiled as a 3-year-old this spring, Holy Helena broke her maiden at second asking on May 12 over Belmont Park’s main track and has gone on to register back-to-back stakes wins on Woodbine’s Tapeta course, winning the Woodbine Oaks on June 11 prior to taking the Queen’s Plate at the Alabama’s 1 ¼-mile distance.

“She broke her maiden on the dirt and it wasn’t a great field, but she acted like one that was making big leaps and bounds,” Jerkens said of the filly’s development. “She was improving really quickly and she took to that surface up there, that’s for sure.”

Jerkens said that multiple Grade 1 winner Shaman Ghost will train up to the Grade 1 Woodward on Saratoga’s closing weekend. Also by Ghostzapper and owned by Stronach Stables, the 5-year-old bay horse got back to the worktab for the first time since finishing second to Keen Ice as the 1-2 favorite in the July 8 Grade 2 Suburban, covering three furlongs in an easy 39 seconds last Saturday.

“[We breezed him] in case we were going to come back and work him this weekend for the Whitney but we’re not going to go there,” said Jerkens. “He’s still in training, but we’ll back him up for another couple of weeks for the Woodward.”

Graded stakes-placed Dolphus won’t make a start at Saratoga this summer following a tendon injury suffered during training recently. The 4-year-old half-brother to 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra was nominated last week to the $100,000 Alydar on August 6.

“He’s got a tendon problem so he’ll be out for a good while,” said Jerkens. “He’s going to go to Ocala in the next couple of days.”

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