By Michael Johnson —-
Zennor captures Fasig-Tipton Lure in stakes debut
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Godolphin’s Zennor captured the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure in his stakes debut with a perfect stalking trip, kicking away from all competitors in the stretch to hit the wire to win by a length on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Trinity Farm’s Macagone lead the field of 10 horses through honest fractions of 23:92 seconds, 47 seconds and 1:09:88, with jockey Joe Bravo sitting a few lengths back on Zennor and 3-2 favorite Projected just behind him. In the stretch, Zennor dug in and passed a fading Macagoneand held off Juddmonte Farm’s Projected to win in a final time of 1:39:23 on the Mellon turf at Saratoga Race Course.
“He’s just really gotten good,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “Joe Bravo has turned him around in my opinion. We got a little unlucky [in his last start], he got left at the gate and settled towards the back and won. Then today, he [Bravo] didn’t think there was too much pace so he laid second and got the jump on everybody. He fits this horse very well and he deserves a lot of credit.”
“I just try to stay out of this big gray horse’s way,” Bravo said. “Anything I ask him to do he does it with ease. The most impressive thing about the race is that he came back like he did nothing. He kicked off at the top of the lane, he kicked all the way throughout it, but I still had horse underneath me. As he gets better his confidence is getting better too. He really was push-button, putting me wherever I wanted to be. All I can say is Kiaran did all the work, he just made me look good out there.”
Zennor, a 5-year-old Medaglia d’Oro gelding, broke his maiden at Saratoga in August 2015 and has now won three straight races with Bravo in the irons. McLaughlin said he will now look for a graded stakes race.
“On paper, this was a Grade 2. We don’t know how good he is. We’ll maybe step up to a proper graded stakes next time, even though this was like a graded stakes.
“He [Zennor] used to work with Frosted and Imperia. He was actually the first runner for Godolphin as 2-year-old starter [in 2014] and he was way overbet because of it,” McLaughlin said.
Finishing second and third were Chad Brown trainees Projected and Takeover Target, respectively.
“Takeover Target ran well off the layoff, but Projected was disappointing,” Brown said. “I thought he had every chance to win, but he didn’t get there, so I’m disappointed with his effort.”
Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, aboard runner-up Projected, said his mount didn’t have his normal speed.
“I tried to break and be right there, but I didn’t have a lot of speed. The horse [Macagone] was rolling and I don’t have that kind of speed to be right there you know. I tried to break running and get in a good spot, but it was very fast so I had to run in front another way. He gave me a little room at the end but they were pretty good horses,” Castellano said.
Zennor paid $30.60 on a $2 win ticket. The win was his fifth from 13 starts and pushed his career earnings to $280,816.
Finishing fourth was Fire Way, followed by Ring Weekend, Blacktype, Camelot Kitten, Our Way, Macagone, and Aubenas.
Vorticity was scratched, as well as main track-only entrants Mohaymen and Red Rifle.
Estrechada earns first graded stakes win with stretch-drive surge in G3 Fasig-Tipton Waya
By Brian Bohl
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Slugo Racing’s Estrechada aggressively overtook four competitors in the stretch, completing an impressive rally for a half-length win in the 14th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Carded as Race 3, the Waya was the first of five stakes on an outstanding card that is highlighted by the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney, a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, and also features the Grade 1, $500,000 Test, the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton De La Rose and the $100,000 Fasig-Tipton Lure.
Apple Betty and 4-5 favorite Suffused were the early front-runners, with the former setting the early fractions of 24.36 seconds for a quarter-mile and holding the edge with a half-mile in 49.60, three-quarters in 1:14.34 and a mile in 1:38.41.
Under newly minted Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano, Estrechada rallied from the outside on the far turn, took the lead in the final furlong and outkicked Lottie, completing 1 ½ miles on the firm inner turf course in 2:27.49.
“Everything went well. I had a great position in the race with the way it unfolded,” said Castellano, who was inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame Friday and earned his second win of the day. “It’s a mile and a half race and the way she did it, I was impressed. He can run all day. I’m just thankful to ride that kind of horse.”
Trained by Mike Puype, Estrechada won her first career graded stakes race in her 20th start. The 6-year-old Argentinean bred returned to the winner’s circle for the first time in almost 17 months. Her previous best finish in a graded stakes was a third-place effort in the Grade 3 Santa Barbara on April 30 at Santa Anita Park.
“She likes the distance, I just couldn’t find the distance on the West Coast. It’s just not there,” said Ral Ayers, assistant to Puype. “Last time she ran a great race, just a troubled trip. Javier did a great job. She got a great trip.”
Making her Saratoga debut, Estretchada, off at 9-1, paid $20 on a $2 win bet and increased her career earnings to $227,842.
Lottie, a 4-year-old Arch filly ridden by jockey Joel Rosario, earned runner-up honors in her graded stakes debut for trainer Graham Motion.
“I was really pleased. I told that at the top of the stretch I was worried she wouldn’t get a piece of it,” Motion said. “She really grinds it out. This filly wants to go a mile and a half or further, so I think we have found her niche. And look, to be competitive in this race today, that speaks a lot.
“The fact that she was competitive today, I think it really opens up a lot of choices, and I think the mile and a half really suits her.”
Summersault, for trainer Mark Hennig, was third, finishing on the board for the seventh time in eight starts.
Apple Betty, Suffused, Evidently and Guilty Twelve completed the order of finish. Gone Away was scratched.