Homeracing

Saratoga Week 2 highlights

Profile Picture: Sara Dacus

July 30th, 2021

Summer at Saratoga continues to sizzle and surprise. Last weekend, Technical Analysis and Maracuja upset the fields in the Lake George S. (G3) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), while Caravel carried her winning form into graded stakes company. Here’s a look back at last weekend’s stakes at Saratoga.

LUCRATIVE CHAD BROWN EXACTA IN LAKE GEORGE S. (G3)

The $1 exacta paid $85 as two of the four Chad Brown-trainees finished first and second in the Lake George, giving the conditioner his fifth win in the stakes at one mile on turf for three-year-old fillies.

Irish-bred Technical Analysis bounced back from a disappointing sixth in the Wonder Again S. (G3) to finish 1 1/4 length ahead of Fluffy Socks and earn her first graded stakes win.

Brown said Technical Analysis seems to like the shorter distance of one mile.

“We always have thought of her as one of our better horses in this division,” Brown said. “It’s nice to see her achieving some of those goals we set forth over the winter when we mapped out her campaign.”

CARAVEL LIVES UP TO HYPE IN CARESS (G3)

Handling the jump up in class with ease, Caravel prevailed in her first graded stakes by 2 1/2 lengths. She settled in just off the pace, issued a challenge in the stretch, and brought her career record to 7-0-2 from 9 starts.

The gray filly is bred, trained and co-owned by Elizabeth Merryman in partnership with celebrity chef Bobby Flay. The Caress was Merryman’s first graded stakes win.

When Flay purchased the majority interest in the four-year-old, the team agreed to transfer her to Graham Motion’s barn after the Caress.

“That was something I was in agreement with from the time of the sale of the majority of her,” Merryman said. “Graham is in the next barn to me at Fair Hill. It’ll all be good.”

Caravel is pointed for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Merryman will remain a part owner.

MARACUJA UPSETS MALATHAAT IN THE COACHING CLUB AMERICAN OAKS (G1)

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Maracuja (outside) wins the Coaching Club American Oaks (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

At 14-1, the longest shot on the board in the four-horse field, Maracuja engaged 1-5 favorite Malathaat in a stretch duel in the Coaching Club American Oaks and won by a head. It was the gray filly’s first start since finishing a distant seventh to Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), and she handed Malathaat her only loss in six starts.

Maracuja earned her first graded stakes win and gave trainer Rob Atras his first Grade 1.

“It’s unbelievable; in Saratoga to win a Grade 1,” Atras said. “She’s come a long way in a short time. I was really proud of her and really impressed how she bore down and got up like that in the end. To run against a filly as accomplished as Malathaat, it was incredible, really.”

Both Maracuja and Malathaat are under consideration for the Alabama S. (G1) on Aug. 21.

UPCOMING SARATOGA STAKES

Four graded stakes crown this weekend’s racing. Saturday features the Jim Dandy S. (G2), Bowling Green S. (G2), and Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1), and Sunday’s highlight is the Amsterdam S. (G2).

ALFRED G. VANDERBILT H. (G1)

Whitmore, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner and 2020 champion male sprinter, seeks his first win of the year in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt H. (G1). The eight-year-old gelding started the year with two runner-up efforts and recently finished third in the Churchill Downs S. (G1). He will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., who piloted Maracuja to surprise victory over Malathaat in last Saturday’s CCA Oaks.

He faces multiple graded stakes winners Mischevious Alex and Firenze Fire.

JIM DANDY S. (G2)

Belmont S. (G1) winner Essential Quality returns to competition in the Jim Dandy S. (G2). His only loss in seven starts came in his fourth-place finish as the Kentucky Derby (G1) favorite.

Jockey Luis Saez, aboard for all six of Essential Quality’s stakes races, retains the mount for trainer Brad Cox.

The reigning champion two-year-old faces Ohio Derby (G3) winner Masqueparade and fellow Triple Crown trail competitor Keepmeinmind.

BOWLING GREEN S. (G2)

Channel Cat, who upset the Man o’ War S. (G1) and then finished a disappointing seventh in the Manhattan S. (G1), aims to redeem himself in the Bowling Green S. (G2), a 1 3/8 mile turf race for four-year-olds and older.

The six-year-old chestnut won the race in 2019 when he was in Todd Pletcher’s barn. He was transferred to Jack Sisterson last year.

He won the Man o’ War by a nose over Gufo, who was a neck better than Bowling Green-rival Moon Over Miami.

Channel Cat is one of three sons of English Channel entered in the contest. Channel Maker and Cross Border round out the trio.

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