Lea's Poppy Flower Blossoms Late In Saratoga's Galway S.

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Poppy Flower | Susie Raisher

Poppy Flower took three tries to break her maiden at Belmont last Spring before making the jump into stakes company, posting on-the-board efforts in Saratoga's Bolton Landing S. behind future GISW Chi Town Lady (Verrazano) and the Ainsworth S. in the fall before ending her year with a fifth in the GIII Futurity S. for Wesley Ward. After a seven-month layoff, Poppy Flower returned for new trainer Bill Mott to capture the Stormy Blues S. at Laurel June 19 and check in just a half-length short behind Empress Tigress in Saratoga's Coronation Cup S. when last seen July 15.

Given a 4-1 chance Thursday, Poppy Flower took back off the early pace, settling close to the back of the field to race in eighth through an opening quarter set by Delmona (Ire) in :22.25. Shifted off the rail into the far turn, she angled four wide as the field straightened for the money and came with a rally down the center of the course to steal the lead from Empress Tigress inside the final sixteenth and go on to win by a length.

“I could have waited longer to see if something opened up inside, but I felt like there was a blanket of horses and I didn't want to be a hero,” said winning jockey Jose Ortiz. “I knew I had a lot of horse underneath of me and she always finishes well, so I wanted to have a clean run home. I didn't want to have any excuses. She came home flying.”

Trainer Bill Mott added, “I gave him [Jose Ortiz] no instructions. He rode her last time and rode her well. We thought maybe we'd be a little bit closer to the pace today, and she broke well and she was up there for a few strides but she just wanted to settle and he let her do what she wanted to do.”

Poppy Flower has an unraced 2-year-old half-brother by Noble Mission (GB) and a yearling half-sister named Got Sunny (Get Stormy). Her dam dropped a filly by Air Force Blue in 2022 and was bred back to Cairo Prince in 2023. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

GALWAY S., $150,000, Saratoga, 8-11, 3yo, f, 5 1/2fT, 1:02.09, fm.
1–POPPY FLOWER, 122, f, 3, by Lea
                1st Dam: Nisharora (Ire) (SP-Ity, SP-USA, $106,173), by Excellent Art (GB)
                2nd Dam: Art Fair (GB), by Alzao
                3rd Dam: Lypharita (Fr), by Lightning (Fr)
($9,500 RNA Ylg '20 KEEJAN). O-Arnmore Thoroughbreds, LLC;
B-Brenda Harding & Megan Jones (KY); T-William I. Mott;
J-Jose L. Ortiz. $82,500. Lifetime Record: 10-3-4-1, $340,520.
2–Empress Tigress, 122, f, 3, Classic Empire–Tigress Tale, by
Tale of the Cat. ($37,000 RNA Ylg '20 KEESEP; $410,000 2yo '21
OBSAPR). O-Augustin Stable; B-Springhouse Farm (KY);
T-Jonathan Thomas. $30,000.
3–Delmona (Ire), 118, f, 3, Dandy Man (Ire)–Imelda Mayhem
(GB), by Byron (GB). (£44,000 Ylg '20 TATIRY; 170,000gns 2yo
'21 TATAHI). O-Red Baron's Barn & Rancho Temescal;
B-Ballyhane Stud (IRE); T-James Bentley Begg. $18,000.
Margins: 1, HF, 1. Odds: 4.20, 1.45, 18.90.
Also Ran: Makin My Move, Have A Good Day (Ire), Breeze Easy (GB), Half Is Enough, Derrynane, Artos (Ire). Scratched: Benbang, Freedom Speaks, Mystic Eyes.

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