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War Like Goddess might have to overcome slow pace in Flower Bowl

By David Grening Sep 02, 2021

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – It may not matter – it hasn’t mattered yet – but if War Like Goddess is going to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl, the late-runner will have to do so in a race bereft of pace.

War Like Goddess, among the top North American-based female turf marathon runners, seeks her first Grade 1 victory and a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf on Nov. 6 at Del Mar when she meets six opponents in the Flower Bowl, which this year will be run at Saratoga after long being a staple at the Belmont Park fall meet.

War Like Goddess’s calling card is her exquisite turn of foot, which carried her from last to first behind a pedestrian pace in the Glens Falls here Aug. 7.

“Didn’t matter last time,” trainer Bill Mott said when questioned about the lack of pace in the Flower Bowl. “Also, I’m not so convinced our filly has to come from last.”

In April, War Like Goddess rallied from ninth in an 11-horse field when she won the Grade 3 Bewitch going 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland. The Glens Falls also was at 1 1/2 miles. The Flower Bowl is at 1 3/8 miles, the distance at which War Like Goddess won the Grade 3 Orchid, rallying from eighth of nine, at Gulfstream in March. It also is the distance of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Mott said War Like Goddess has been acting sharp all week.

“You’d like to be running her today,” he said Wednesday.

Her regular pilot, Julien Leparoux, will be in from Kentucky to ride from post 3. War Like Goddess is the 122-pound highweight.

The pace could be set by Lovely Lucky, a 5-year-old mare who came off a lengthy layoff to win a second-level allowance by a neck here July 22. She sat fourth behind a posted half-mile of 54.55 seconds. Lovely Lucky set the pace in last year’s Flower Bowl before backing up to seventh behind Civil Union.

The serious competition to War Like Goddess figures to come from La Signare, My Sister Nat, and Great Island.

La Signare is only 1 for her last 11 but is coming off three straight placings in Grade 1 stakes, most recently a third in the Grade 1 Diana here July 17. Trainer Brendan Walsh has liked the way La Signare has settled in this summer at Saratoga.

“I’ve never seen her look as well,” Walsh said. “I’m thinking she’s sitting on a big one.”

Walsh said La Signare was forced to steady at a crucial juncture of the Diana.

“She didn’t have a great trip,” he said. “She had to go way outside, and I thought she was running them down.”

My Sister Nat finished second in last year’s Flower Bowl and was second to War Like Goddess in the Glens Falls. Great Island is coming off a last-to-first victory in the Grade 3 Matchmaker at Monmouth. Both are trained by Chad Brown.

Coastana won a first-level allowance at 1 3/8 miles here Aug. 6. American Bridge, a Group 3 winner in Italy on June 27, makes her U.S. debut.

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