2022 Ballerina Handicap Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

Older filly and mare sprinters shine at Saratoga on Sunday, August 28 for the 2022 Ballerina Handicap (G1)!

Older filly and mare sprinters shine at Saratoga on Sunday, August 28 for the 2022 Ballerina Handicap (G1)! At stake is not just a rich $500,000 purse, but also an expenses-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. Since the Ballerina covers the same specialist seven-furlong distance as the Filly and Mare Sprint, the race is a great opportunity to both test a good horse at the trip and earn a bid to the division’s premier race.

Though Ce Ce finished only third when she contested the 2021 Ballerina, she improved as the year continued and rolled home to the win in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last year, cementing an Eclipse award. She will face six others, an exciting mix of well-known stakes mares and improving new faces. Keep reading to get to know the field, as well as find out how to watch and wager on the Ballerina online with TVG and FanDuel!

Ballerina Handicap 2022 Information

Race Date: Saturday, August 27, 2022
Track: Saratoga Race Course
Post Time: 5:39 p.m. Eastern time
Distance: seven furlongs on dirt
Age/Sex: fillies and mares, three years old and up
Where to Watch:
Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Ballerina Handicap Odds

Saratoga drew the 2022 Ballerina Handicap on Thursday, August 25 and assigned the morning line the next day. The morning line gives a good idea of what the wagering will look like at post time, though keep in mind that the odds will fluctuate until the time the race begins. After all, under pari-mutuel wagering, final prices are based on actual wagering on the horses.

This is the field for the Ballerina including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds for each horse.

1Ce CeMichael McCarthyVictor Espinoza2-1
2ObligatoryBill MottJose Ortiz7-2
3Caramel SwirlBill MottJunior Alvarado8-1
4Lady RocketBrad CoxRicardo Santana, Jr.6-1
5Bella SofiaRudy RodriguezLuis Saez7-2
6Travel ColumnBill MottTyler Gaffalione12-1
7Goodnight OliveChad BrownIrad Ortiz, Jr.5-1

Make sure to stay tuned to TVG and for the latest news on all of the Ballerina Handicap runners. Knowing the latest can help you make a smart bet. And, following the odds can help you refine your strategy as well.

After all, if a horse you expect to take a lot of money at the windows does not, then knowing the latest news can help you make a smart decision as to whether you are getting good value or if there is a good reason to look elsewhere. On the other hand, it can also help you choose wisely if a long shot is taking more money than expected. Having as much information as possible can help you determine whether the horse is just underlaid, or if there is a good reason to consider betting them after all.

Ballerina Handicap Prep Results

The current filly and mare sprint division is a bit of a carousel, with different horses stepping forward to do well in different spots without the most coherent narrative. The Ballerina field reflects that strongly: all seven horses come into it from different races, and last raced at a total of four different tracks.

Ce Ce earned her return bid to the Breeders’ Cup by winning the Princess Rooney (G2) at Gulfstream with even more authority than she did last year. Lady Rocket also comes in off of a graded stakes win, as she wired the Chicago (G3) at Churchill last out. Caramel Swirl, Goodnight Olive, and Travel Column all also come out of wins as well, but they all won different third-level allowances.

The other two come in from stakes, but not wins. Obligatory missed in the Bed O’ Roses (G2) at Belmont on June 10, missing Bella Sofia by half a length. Bella Sofia has raced once since that outing, finishing a flat third as the odds-on chalk in the Honorable Miss (G2) at Saratoga.

Ballerina Handicap Contenders

Ce Ce: The defending champion sprinter tried stretching out again at Oaklawn this winter, even winning the Azeri (G1), but after running third behind Letruska and Clairiere in the Apple Blossom (G1), she shortened back up. She romped against a soft field in the Princess Rooney last out. She faces tougher here, but she is 4-for-7 at this seven-furlong distance and her third in this race last out suggests she handles Saratoga fine. One of her better races puts her in win contention.

Obligatory: The “A” stringer in Bill Mott’s three-strong contingent, this four-year-old has had no trouble with the graduation to older foes, winning her first three starts against older company before falling short by only half a length in a short-field Bed O’ Roses last out. With Lady Rockey likely to give Bella Sofia more on the front end than unfolded last out, Obligatory has a good chance to get her trip.

Caramel Swirl: The second in the Bill Mott brigade, this one-turn, seven-furlong specialist won the Raven Run against straight three-year-olds last year, and was on the shelf until a third-level allowance win in May. She will have to make a step forward from that, though Mott is strong with freshened horses. Her tactical speed is an asset, and she won her only previous start at the Spa.

Lady Rocket: She was no match late when she tried Grade 1 company over the Keeneland mud in the Madison in April, and the same when she raced in a muddy Ruffian (G2) two back, but she got back on track when she caught a fast track in the Chicago two months back. She should get fast ground for this, though she will have a tough time up front with the zippy Bella Sofia drawn just outside her.

Bella Sofia: Speed is her greatest asset. She was left wanting last out when unable to make the top in the six-furlong Honorable Miss, but the stretch out should help her. However, she will not have it easy up front, with Lady Rocket drawn directly to her inside. Still, given how she won the Vagrancy from a pressing place, she may be able to work out just that kind of trip.

Travel Column: She was off since running fifth in both the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the Acorn (G1) last year, but returned smartly with an allowance win on June 29 at Churchill. It was her first race in over a year, and her first race since the switch to the Bill Mott barn. Mott’s horses often move forward second off a lay, but if she builds on that she can get a good tactical trip at a price.

Goodnight Olive: She has been excellent in her last four starts: she has only raced five times, but won her last four by daylight, dating back to October of last year. She even proved in her last race that she could handle the footing at Saratoga and could sit a bit further off the pace than she had before, important with Lady Rocket and Bella Sofia in the field. Her question is class: as a bettor, you need enough of a price to play her against more experienced foes, but her connections tend to get overbet.

Ballerina Handicap Past Winners Past Performances

Over the last decade, the Honorable Miss has been the most important last race for producing Ballerina winners; three of the last ten winners came out of that race. Dance to Bristol (2013) and Haveyougoneaway (2016) won it; By the Moon (2017) was third. Bella Sofia is the only one coming out of that race in 2022; she finished third.

The only other races that has produced more than one Ballerina winner in the last ten years was the Great Lady M (G2), which both Marley’s Freedom (2018) and Gamine (2021) won before taking the Ballerina. Other winners came out of the Desert Stormer, Shine Again, Ogden Phipps (G1), and Fleur de Lis (G2). All of the last ten winners finished in the top three except for Serengeti Empress (2020), who came in from a fourth-place run in the Fleur de Lis.

With three entrants coming in from allowance races, it is worth noting that one of the last ten winners raced in an allowance before winning the Ballerina. In 2014, Artemis Agrotera romped against second-level New York-bred foes in her final prep.

Ballerina Handicap Undercard

The Ballerina is the featured race in Saratoga’s ten-race Sunday card. It is one of two stakes races on the card, which also includes the Better Talk Now for sophomore turf milers. With many large fields, including a pair of two-year-old maiden races, it will be an excellent betting experience. It is the perfect day to watch and wager with TVG and FanDuel!

Saratoga Race Course

Based in Saratoga Springs, New York, Saratoga Race Course is the oldest organized sporting venue of any kind in the United States. John Hunter, who became the first chairman of The Jockey Club, and William R. Travers built the horse racing track in 1864.

Saratoga has two popular nicknames—The Spa, named for the nearby mineral springs, and the Graveyard of Favorites, named for the historic upsets recorded there in years past. Perhaps most notable is Man o' War’s only defeat in 21 starts, Secretariat’s loss to Onion after winning the Triple Crown, and Rachel Alexandra losing there in her four-year-old season.

There are three separate horse racing tracks at Saratoga: a main dirt track; an outer turf track known as the Mellon Turf Course, and an inner turf horse racing track. The main dirt track has a 1 1/8 mile circumference, the Mellon Turf Course is a 1-mile turf track and the inner turf track is 7 furlongs. Additionally, there is the Oklahoma Track, used for morning training.

Ballerina Handicap FAQ

Q: When is the Ballerina Handicap?
A: Sunday, August 25, 2022, at 5:39 p.m. Eastern time.

Q: Where is the Ballerina Handicap?
A: The Ballerina Handicap takes place at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Ballerina Handicap?
A: Of all trainers, the still-active Shug McGaughey has the most wins with five; his last win came in 1999 with Furlough. Among trainers in the 2022 edition, Bill Mott is the only one with a winner: he took this race with Dream Supreme in 2000.

Q: Who is the favorite for the Ballerina Handicap?
A: Ce Ce, who won the Princess Rooney last out, has been named the 2-1 morning-line favorite, and she should hold as the shortest price come post time. Bella Sofia and Obligatory are both 7-2 on the morning line, and neither would be a surprise as an actual second-betting choice. That may depend on how the track is playing: expect Bella Sofia to take more money if speed is holding, and Obligatory to be second choice if closers are winning.

Q: Who is the best Ballerina Handicap jockey?
A: John Velazquez has the most Ballerina wins; he has five, most recently in 2021. He is still active, but not riding the 2022 edition. Among riders in the 2022 Ballerina, Luis Saez is the only one who has won it before. He won in 2020 with Serengeti Empress.

Q: Who won the Ballerina Handicap in 2021?
A: Gamine won the 2021 Ballerina for trainer Bob Baffert and jockey John Velazquez. Neither Baffert nor Velazquez features in the 2022 edition.