Awesome four-horse blanket finish in Monday’s second at Saratoga, a turf sprint for 2yo fillies who were all making their debuts. Man, you gotta love the flying finishes in turf races when the horses are actually finishing with vim and vigor, as opposed to your precious dirt racing which is, more often than not, a case of who is less tired than whom. Here’s a link to the replay.
I wouldn’t have paid a penny for a ticket on Rainha Da Bateria ($15) – a real mouthful for track announcer John Imbriale – mid-stretch considering how far back she was at that point; quite the unlikely rally! The early pace, while not insanely fast, was contested enough so that the 3rd and 4th place finishers – the former being the Chad Brown bet-down favorite Partisan Politics – were assigned the higher TFUS Speed Figures by virtue of being closer to the pace. (More on our speed figures here.)
The winner, the second of the meet for trainer Graham Motion, earned $49,800 towards her $435,000 price tag at Keeneland last fall. She’s by Broken Vow, out of Amelia (Dixieland Band); and this is quite an illustrious female family. Rainha Da Bateria has a host of winning siblings, including the grass stakes winners Assateague and Kindergarden Kid; the latter having won up to a mile and a half, a good indication that Rainha Da Bateria is eligible to improve as she stretches out. Her third dam is the blue hen mare Courtly Dee.
Two winners on the day for trainer Nick Zito, including Tony B ($13.20), who made a mockery of the 4th race, one of those cheap 20K maiden claimers that we were told we’d be seeing less of this meet. (Just wait until we get to around week 4.) He won by 11 despite being washy during the warm-up and then fractious in the gate as reported by the chart caller. I guess this field wasn’t that good considering that this horse’s PPs coming into the race looked like this:
It was here on August 17 last year that this son of Old Fashioned, purchased for a cool half million after no doubt running a hole in the wind at the Fasig-Tipton 2yo-in-training sale, debuted against the likes of Strong Mandate and Tapiture. We imagine it may have been a little bittersweet for the owners standing in the winners circle thinking about what hasn’t been with their expensive purchase and, perhaps, lamenting that he wasn’t claimed. Tony B is out of a Coronado’s Quest half-sister to the speedy stakes winner Willa on the Move (the one foaled in 1999). He earned a TFUS speed figure of 83.
It was also last August 17 at Saratoga when Sandy’z Slew ($4.70) last saw the winners circle before taking Monday’s 7th race, for trainer Richard Schosberg, who also had a close second with 17-1 Saturday Appeal on Sunday. He was assigned a TFUS speed figure of 93.
The featured Shine Again Stakes was scratched down to a field of four, and Better Lucky ($13.20), the longest shot in the field, cut a lonely figure observing the unsustainable pace (22.74 / 21.88 quarter splits to the half in the 7 furlong race) from far behind the other three. It was her first race on the dirt since May, 2012; she certainly didn’t have to deal with dirt being kicked in her face from back there. This is the kind of race that the ‘Behind’ button in our result charts does a better job of telling the story than the traditional format, as one can quickly see just how far back she was.
No, the chart isn’t upside down. TheTimeformUS Speed Figures are ascendant from 1st to 4th. Bridgehampton was upgraded from a raw final time figure of 99 in deference to her finishing only a couple of lengths back despite setting that ridiculous pace; while Better Lucky was downgraded a point for taking advantage of it. Unfortunately for backers of the last place horse, the payouts are not adjusted accordingly. Here’s the replay:
Churchill shippers generally fare pretty well at the Spa. After several second place finishes – including Mr. Z, who, as we mentioned here yesterday, just missed in Saturday’s Sanford Stakes – Overton Square ($47.20) became the meet’s first winner who had last raced under the twin spires when he upset the finale, creating a Pick Six carryover of $27,469 heading into tomorrow. Churchill shippers filled the 3-4-5 slots as well (including the 4th place, 3-2 Maker/Ramsey favorite Honor the Kitten). Trained by highly rated Brad Cox, this three-year old son of Congrats was making his first start on turf. Not sure what it is about these grass finales – perhaps the jockeys already have their minds on where they’re going to eat dinner (smallish portions I presume) – but, as was the case with Frankie Dettori on Jet Majesty on Friday….and with Javier Castellano on All Included on Saturday, Shaun Bridgmohan lulled them all to sleep early on. He went a slow opening half mile (49.46; moderate early pace figures of 83 and 85) and sprinted home from there in quarter splits of 23.38 and 23.32. Overton Square earned a solid TimeformUS Speed Figure of 93.