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Aug 03, 2012

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


               Saratoga got their meeting underway on Friday July 20th and they will run through Labor Day September 3rd. They got underway with two graded stakes races, the Grade III James Marvin for $100,000 and the Grade III Schuylerville Stakes, the traditional stakes race on opening day for two year old fillies with a purse of $150,000.

               In the James Marvin, a field of six went postward with JACKSON BEND going off as the 4-5 favorite. As the race unfolded, PACIFIC OCEAN, making just his second start for the Richard Dutrow Jr. barn was able to make the lead through fractions of 23, 46:3, 1:10 and came home nicely through the lane to finish in a solid time of 1:22:2 scoring by almost two lengths at 6-1. GOLDDIGGER’S BOY finished up well for second and CROSSBOW checked in third. JACKSON BEND could only manage fourth trying to close into those moderate fractions.

               In the Schuylerville Stakes they also had a field of six with SO MANY WAYS going off as the slight favorite at 2.80-1. After winning easily in her debut at Parx Racing back in June, she was able to stalk the pace from fifth, moved into contention on the turn and closed well through the lane to score going away over the pacesetters, CAN’T EXPLAIN and BABY J. This filly definitely has a future and she was trained by Anthony Dutrow, Richard’s brother, as they took down both stake races.

               On day two of the meeting they hosted their Grade I in the Coaching Club American Oaks. There was another field of six that went postward with IN LINGERIE going off as the 3-2 favorite with ZO IMPRESSIVE going off as the 2-1 second choice. When the gates opened, longshot, YARA was sent right to the lead setting solid fractions of 23:1, 47:3, 1:12:1 with QUESTING tracking the leader. After the half QUESTING took over the lead, opened up a clear lead into the lane and stayed easily clear while drifting out badly late. ZO IMPRESSIVE held for a clear second over IN LINGERIE checking in a clear third. Since moving back the dirt she has been very impressive and looks to have a future ahead of her.

               On day three of the meeting Saratoga hosted the Grade II Sanford Stakes for two year olds with a purse of $200,000. A field of eight went postward with BERN IDENTITY, a huge maiden breaker making his first try with winners. The second choice in the race was ROSE JUNCTION, a Todd Pletcher trainee was sent off as the 2-1 second choice. When the gate opened, HANDSOME JACK and BRAVE DAVE battled for the lead through some very sharp early fractions of 21:3, 44:3. As they moved into the lane, HANDSOME JACK was still there while BRAVE DAVE drifted into the lane losing valuable ground. BERN IDENTITY saved ground into the lane, angled out and ran down the game leader in HANDSOME JACK with 12-1 SHOT ONETWENTYEIGHT closing for third and BRAVE DAVE running well for fourth despite drifting out into the lane and battling throughout fast fractions early on. Sunday also brought a record tying performance by a Jockey as Ramon Dominguez scored with six of his mounts to tie the record set by John Velazquez.

               On Monday, the fourth day of the shortened first week, Saratoga hosted the Evan Shipman stakes, race for New York breds with a purse of $100,000. There was a field of five that went postward with LUNAR VICTORY going off as the 6-5 favorite despite the fact that he was coming off a March layoff when he bled through Lasix, the anti-bleeding medication and was given some time off. He returned working very well for Hall Of Fame trainer Bill Mott. JOHANNESBURG SMILE was sent off as the second choice and he played out as the main speed. When the gates opened, JOHANNESBURG SMILE was sent right to the lead but LUNAR VICTORY was right up on that pace sitting just about a length off. Through solid fractions of 23:2, 46:4, 1:10:1, 1:35, LUNAR VICTORY was never really asked for run but he took over the lead into the lane and opened up over JOHANNESBURG SMILE and he scored by a geared down 2 ½ lengths over SAILMATE who outfinished JOHANNESBURG SMILE in a solid final time of 1:49:1. LUNAR VICTORY is a well bred son of SPEIGHTSTOWN, he now has four wins and a second in five starts in this country. This horse has been doing it impressively in all his wins and looks ready to face off against open company stakes competition sooner rather than later.

               Saratoga has many more stakes to offer including their highlight of the meeting the Travers Stakes on August 25th, get up to the Spa if you can, it will be an experience you won’t regret.

              



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