In day 30 of the Saratoga meet, the usual 10 races were held. The excitement was high at The Spa Thursday, as the Travers Stakes is just two days away.
Race One (The 75th running of The New York Turf Writers Cup): In the G1 steeplechase race of the afternoon, Portrade (12/1) ridden by Gustav Dahl got his redemption after losing out on a race earlier in the meet, leading wire-to-wire to take the first race of the afternoon.
“The idea was to have an easy pace. He likes to be on the front end and settles away once he can’t hear pressure behind him.” Dahl said of his horse. “He jumps phenomenally and he just kept his forward momentum going, stayed on and dug in.”
Dahl added on winning a Grade 1 at Saratoga, “It’s a dream come true.”
Andi’amu finished second, and Scorpiancer came back to the stretch third. The favorite in race one, Bob Le Beau, pulled up mid-race and was taken out of the race. The race was Portrade’s fourth lifetime win in 12 starts, and first victory in his second start at Saratoga. Unfortunately, the horse that pulled up, Bob Le Beau, was euthanized later in the day due to multiple right hind leg fractures he suffered during the race. This makes 10 horses euthanized during the Saratoga meet.
Race Two: It was domination from the favorite Mr. Curiosity (8/5) with Irad Ortiz Jr. up, winning the second by four lengths in a very fast-six furlong race run in just 1:12.07. Zababa finished second and Cats Landing was third, pulling away from Steel Grit for the show late. The win was the first win for Mr. Curiosity in his fifth career start, and the win also came in the horse’s first start at Saratoga. It was Ortiz Jr’s 41st win of the meet, which leads all Saratoga jockeys.
Race Three: It was a tight race the whole way, and Lem Me Dance (7/1) ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. was able to win the race in a photo finish. Discreet Image finished second, just a nose behind Lem Me Dance. Beautiful Nite Sky was third. 35/1 long shot Little Chiseler was there most of the way, but fell out of contention in the stretch. This was the first competitive race of Lem Me Dance’s life, and first win as a result of this. With the jockey win, Irad Ortiz Jr. won his second consecutive race, and racking up win number 42 of the meet in the process.
Race Four: It was long shot Saluda (24/1) with Aaron Gryder up, pulling off the upset on the muddy Saratoga course. Saulda led most of the way, and was able to hold off the hard-charging pack in the final stretch. Tahoe Tigress was second, and Dreamboat Annie came in third. For Saluda, it was her fifth career victory in 32 career starts. It was also her second win in five starts at Saratoga. For Glyder, it was his first win of the 2016 Saratoga meet, having previously failed to win in 19 starts before Thursday.
Race Five: Dom the Bomb led most of the way as the favorite, but it was Rockford (7/1) ridden by John Velazquez stealing the lead in the final furlong and holding off the field to take the win in the fifth race of the afternoon, and Velazquez’s first win of the day. Dom the Bomb ended up finishing a close second, and Rich ‘n’ Tuck was third. The win was Rockford’s ninth career victory in 34 starts. In addition, this was the horse’s second win in four starts at Saratoga Race Course.
Race Six: Smart Alex led most of the way, but it was Laquesta (7/2) with John Velazquez up taking the lead in the final stretch of the race and holding off the field to win. Rain in Spain was declared the second place finisher after a photo for that position, and Smart Alex, who led most of the way, came home third. This win was Velazquez’s second consecutive win, and second of the day. For Laquesta, a filly of Saratoga legend Lemon Drop Kid, it was her first career victory in eight starts, and also first win in her second start at Saratoga.
Race Seven: It was a close race the whole way, but it was Shalako (7/2) ridden by Florent Geroux winning the seventh race of the afternoon after taking the lead in the stretch coming off the final turn. Son of Oahu finished second and Inventor’s Gate finished third. The win was Geroux’s first of the day, and seventh of the meet. For Shalako, it was the horse’s fourth career win in nine starts, and it is now a perfect two-for-two in wins at Saratoga Race Course, also winning on July 27th.
Race Eight: Cadeyrn (9/2) with Luis Saez up, was challenged the whole race, but was able to hold off the other horses in the final stretch and picked up the wire-to-wire win in the eighth. Goats Town finished second after a photo finish, and Juan and Bina came home third. The win was Saez’s first of the day, and 24th of the meet, ranking him sixth among Saratoga jockeys. For Cadeyrn, it was his second career win in nine lifetime starts. It was also his first win at Saratoga in two starts.
Race Nine (The 8th running of the Riskaverse Stakes): In the lone stakes race of the day, it was 59/1 long shot Marquee Miss leading most of the way, but ended up falling out of contention in the final stretch. The winner of the 2016 Riskaverse would be the favorite, On Leave (9/5) ridden by Jose Ortiz would end up making the winning pass and holding it all the way to the end. She Doesn’t Mind ended up second, and Pricedtoperfection finished third. Marquee Miss, who would have pulled off a huge upset, came in fifth. This was On Leave’s third career victory in her fifth start, and is now undefeated in three starts in 2016, winning twice at Belmont Park. It was her first win at Saratoga in two starts.
Race Ten: In a close race, it was Battle Tux (9/2) with Jose Ortiz up, taking the win in the final race of the day. May Flowers was second, and Dream On was third. It was Battle Tux’s second win in four starts, and first win at Saratoga in his first race. In the final corner, Ring of Truth and Junior Alvarado took a nasty fall, and the horse was euthanized post race on the track to end the day on a sad note, becoming the second horse to be euthanized on Thursday.
Jockey win leaders:
- Irad Ortiz Jr., 42 wins
- Jose Ortiz, 40 wins
- Javier Castalleno, 34 wins
- John Velazquez, 33 wins
- Joel Rosario, 25 wins