Saratoga Diary: Three more off the turf
by Dick Powell
Everything looked good for today based on a forecast of afternoon showers getting worse into the evening. But around 10:30 a.m. (ET), a light rain began and it seems like there will be no risks taken with the turf courses these days.
At noon, Races 1, 4 and 6 were taken off the turf.
Race 1 made no sense since there was no chance of getting any more light rain and Race 4 is part of the early Pick 5 and Pick 4, so that had to come off as well. In fact, there were three scratches in Race 1 and, while they were on the simulcast screen around 12:20 p.m., they did not show up on the big infield toteboards until about 10 minutes later.
Race 1 only had six go to the post at 5 1/2 furlongs on the main track rated as fast. Lacey Gaudet shipped MESOTHERM in from Laurel and the main-track only entrant stalked early leader Shamrocked, who was used hard from post one with Manny Franco. Irad Ortiz Jr. swung to the outside with Mesotherm and won by two lengths over a fast-closing La Maquina Gris.
Race 2 was the Saratoga Dew Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares. This race had trouble filling and kept showing up as an extra on the overnight; today only six entered with one scratch. FROSTIE ANNE came back on five days’ rest to beat two other rivals who also were on short rest. Frostie Anne has now won six races in a row, and it was the third stakes win for Junior Alvarado.
Race 3 was a New York-bred $25,000 maiden claimer going six furlongs. GIANT BOO BOO gunned to the front and never looked back to win by more than 13 lengths over second choice Wheresthebarber. The chalk exacta paid $5.40. Amazingly, the winner was not claimed.
Race 4 was taken off the turf and run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. Only four went to the post and La Fee Verte went to the front for Joel Rosario and led the first six furlongs in 1:13.73. UNBRIDLEDADVENTURE stalked her with Jose Ortiz and the 6-5 shot beat the even-money shot. The exacta came back $7.50, which was not bad.
With all the scratches on the rest of the card, Race 5 was one of the better races and Ron Moquett’s FROSTED ICE, a second-time starter, pressed the pace and took over in the lane to win going away by over five lengths and pay $13 to win. Steam Engine was a game second after gunning to the front.
Race 6 saw seven go to the post in an off-the-turf event going 5 1/2 furlongs. PAUSEFORTHECAUSE was a main-track only starter from Kiaran McLaughlin and part of an odds-on favored entry with Rock Ave. Road. Both were owned and bred by Chester and Mary Broman, and the winner pressed the early pace of Silencia, taking over on the turn to win by over six lengths with Irad Ortiz Jr. Tough Old Bird rallied late to get second.
Race 7 might have been the worst-behaved group of horses I have ever seen. Palladian Bridge was a complete screwball, backing up when she came on the track, galloping off with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the warm up, then causing all sorts of problems at the gate. I feel that she should have been scratched since she was a danger to herself and anyone around her but, once loaded, she behaved a bit better. Cilantro balked at loading, which has become too much the norm for Todd Pletcher trainees. She stalked the pace to the top of the stretch where she bore out. Cypriana, who bolted last out, did it again this time. While all this was going on, SWEET BYE AND BYE shipped in from Parx Racing for Steve Klesaris and sat the inside trip to win easily. After the race, owner Joe Imbesi said the Cotillion Stakes (G1), where she would like face divisional leader Monomoy’s Girl, would be next.
Race 8 stayed on the turf as the rain just began. In the stretch, it was anyone’s race and LEAVEEMATTHEGATE passed five horses in the final strides and got up in time for Rajiv Maragh and Leah Gyarmati.
With rain looming in the area, it was not enough to affect the turf sprint in Race 9, the Skidmore Stakes for two-year olds. CHATTEL shipped up from Maryland for Brandon McFarlane and he got a perfect trip from Kendrick Carmouche to split horses and win going away. The turf was pretty wet through the lane and if we get much more rain tonight, we’ll have to wait and see what tomorrow brings.
Saturday is the 138th running of the historic Alabama Stakes (G1). The race is not as strong as it could have been and I like #6 FIGARELLA’S QUEEN. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is trained by Brad Cox, who trains divisional leader Monomoy’s Girl, and since going back to the dirt she has two good races. The 10-furlong distance does not look like it will be a problem and she has sneaky early speed if new rider Irad Ortiz Jr. wants to use it.