Nonna Mela became the latest filly capture a major New York stakes for the owner-trainer combination of St. Elias Stables and Todd Pletcher. Before her came Bode’s Dream with a convincing score in the June 9 Astoria Stakes followed by Sweet Loretta in the Schuylerville Stakes (GIII).
Nonna Mela’s win in the Adirondack Stakes (GII) was the most dominant of the three stakes victories. After sitting second behind Kentucky Juvenile Stakes winner, Silvertoni, through swift opening fractions of :21.81 and :45.13, Nonna Mela pounced. By the stretch call, she had a three length advantage that she lengthened to six by the time she reached the wire. The final time was a solid 1:16.83.
“It’s worked out well,” said Pletcher, now a four-time Adirondack winner. “Vinnie and Teresa [Viola, owners of St. Elias] made the decision to send all of these babies early to Palm Beach Downs.
“They all got started there and, in the case of Bode’s Dream, she broke her maiden at Gulfstream and then won the Astoria [June 9 at Belmont]. Then, Sweet Loretta broke her maiden at Monmouth and won the Schuylerville and, now, this filly has done the same thing.”
With her win, Nonna Mela overcame a poor draw to win convincingly.
“I liked the way she broke from the gate,” said Javier Castellano, who captured his first Adirondack. “It was a great performance. There was a lot of speed out of the gate, but she broke sharp and put me in a good position.”
The win was not a surprise to the connections, but the manner in which it was achieved was not expected.
“We weren’t completely surprised [by the effort], although this was a pretty dominating performance really,” said Pletcher.
Outside of her debut Nonna Mela has dominated, waltzing away with her last two starts by a combined 13 ¼ lengths. With the New York filly division having no clear leader, Nonna Mela looks poised to take control.