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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Saratoga: Schuylerville contender Bahnah has big talent inside small package

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Short on stature, but long on talent, Bahnah looks to validate her eye-catching six-length maiden win last month at Churchill Downs when she runs in Friday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville Stakes on the opening day card at Saratoga.

The Schuylerville, which drew a field of seven 2-year-old fillies, shares billing with the Grade 3, $100,000 James Marvin Stakes, the local prep for the Grade 1 Forego later in the meet. The 10-race card also includes the $100,000 On the Bus Stakes for New York-bred turf fillies and mares.

If you visit the paddock for the Schuylerville, you will have to look hard to find Bahnah, a daughter of Elusive Quality. She is quite small and Calhoun estimates she weighs around 750 pounds, though he said he has never weighed her.

“She is very small and she is very fast,” said Calhoun, who has taken two stalls this summer at Saratoga and will ship horses in and out from Kentucky. “She’s just kind of a miniature version. She looks like a racehorse. She’s an athletic looking filly. There’s length to her body. She’s just small.”

In her debut, Bahnah stalked two dueling leaders, swung three-wide around the turn, and accelerated home under mostly hand-urging from Corey Lanerie to win by six. Her final time of 51.17 seconds for 4 1/2 furlongs earned her a 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

“She did everything we wanted first time out, showed a real quick turn of foot,” said Calhoun, who trains Bahnah for Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch. “Corey moved a little early on her because he was a little worried about one of the horses in there and she just accelerated quickly and it was over pretty early in the stretch.”

Two horses that Bahnah defeated in her debut came back to win.

Bahnah drew post 5 in a field of seven maiden winners that includes the Todd Pletcher-trained, Stonestreet Stables-owned entry of Yes Liz and Elena Strikes. Pletcher said it is not definite that both debut-winning fillies would start. Elena Strikes won on June 22 at Monmouth while Yes Liz won on July 3 at Belmont.

Brazen Persuasion, a second-out winner at Churchill, Jonesin for Jerry, Silver Valley, and True Blue Nation complete the field.

Bahnah is not the only 2-year-old filly Calhoun plans to run at this meet. He said that Fiftyshadesofgold, winner of the Debutante at Churchill on June 22, will point to the Grade 2, $200,000 Adirondack on Aug. 11.

Jacobson looks to keep it going

Coming off a record-setting Belmont spring-summer meeting, trainer David Jacobson looks to keep the good times rolling at Saratoga, where on opening day he will participate in three races, including the James Marvin with Strapping Groom.

The James Marvin, the local prep for the Grade 1 Forego on Aug. 31, drew a field of nine.

Strapping Groom was one of Jacobson’s 44 winners during the Belmont meet – he eclipsed the spring-summer record of 40 set by Todd Pletcher in 2003 – when he won the $100,000 Lion Cavern Stakes in his first start after being claimed for $35,000.

Strapping Groom caught Jacobson’s eye last year, but the horse was away for 11 months when he decided to take him from Carl Domino on May 24.

“He’s doing good. He came out of the race great. He’s ready to compete,” Jacobson said. “Off his last race he figures one of the horses to beat. I wouldn’t want to run against him if I had somebody else.”

Strapping Groom, who breaks from the outside post under John Velazquez, faces a field that includes Souper Speedy, who finished second but was placed first in the off-the-turf Jaipur Stakes; Jaguar Paw, winner of the off-the-turf Three Coins Up Stakes, and Right to Vote, winner of the Kelly’s Landing Stakes at Churchill. Right to Vote is cross-entered in Saturday’s $50,000 Don Bernhardt Stakes at Ellis Park. Hello Lover, Politicallycorrect, Sage Valley, Willyconker, and Laurie’s Rocket complete the James Marvin field.

? Hessonite, Shakeira, and Inimitable Romanee head a field of nine entered in the $100,000 On the Bus Stakes for New York-breds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

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