Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin finally has Cavorting figured out: She definitely prefers shorter distances, even if it means she gets a little dirt kicked up in her face.
The 3-year-old daughter of Bernardini won the 90th running of the Grade I $500,000 Test by 21⁄2 lengths over seven furlongs Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. It was a marked contrast to back-to-back races she ran over a mile before coming back to win at six furlongs in June at Belmont Park.
Bar of Gold was second, with By the Moon third. Cavorting paid $7.60, $4.80 and $3.20 to top a field of 10 fillies and mares.
Cavorting, with Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle, has now won four out of six career races. The four wins have come at six or seven furlongs. She finished seventh and ninth running races at a mile.
“It was a great win. Grade I’s are hard to come by, and it was a great team effort,” McLaughlin said. “Grade I wins are most important for fillies, and it’s great she’s by Bernardini, who stands at Darley, who I train a lot of horses for. It’s a win-win for everybody.”
McLaughlin’s filly won despite a pace he wasn’t thrilled with.
“I thought it would be a faster pace early, but it worked well,” he said. “I knew she was running, and I was hoping she would get space to run. She normally doesn’t like a lot of dirt in her face, but she was covered in dirt today. Irad rode a great race, and she ran huge.
“She deserves a Grade I win, and she got it. She’s a very nice filly.”
Her jockey was thrilled with the ride.
“I had the perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “The trainer told me before the race to relax her and stay steady in the back. We had a strong pace in the front, and when we turned the corner, I just let her go.”
Bar of Gold trainer John Kimmel thought his filly wasn’t right for the distance.
“Maybe next year she grows up a little bit, she’ll be able to carry herself a little further,” he said. “She got me screaming a little bit. This was a good race. I was reminiscing about my first Grade I win, the Test, with Twist Afleet.”
Goldy Espony got a fantastic trip along the rail and dominated the 12th running of the Grade III $200,000 Waya over 11⁄2 miles on the turf.
Trained by Mechanicville native Chad Brown, Goldy Espony was ridden by Kendrick Carmouche, who saved ground the whole way. The 4-year-old filly, who won by a comfortable 31⁄4 lengths, has five wins in eight career starts, including three in a row.
Eastern Belle was second with jockey Jose Lezcano, and White Rose was third with rider Shaun Bridgmohan.
Goldy Espony paid $11.20, $6.30 and $4.30.
“Kendrick rode a similar race last time in a stakes at Belmont, and he got away easy,” Brown said. “He had a plan when he came to the paddock, he was going to try to do the same thing, and he did. He pulled it off again. He just set really easy fractions, and she had plenty left coming home.
“Those fractions were so easy early that she turned it into a sprint home. She’s a filly with a lot of quality that if you give her a head start, she’s going to be tough to run down.”
Carmouche said it was a fun race.
“My filly was nice and relaxed; she loves to run on the lead,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to slow her down a little, where she could have kept running. She just accelerated at the eighth pole. She’s an unbelievable horse.”
Under Control, Ortiz Jr. up once more, stayed well back from pace-setting Reload until a brilliant stretch run to win the $100,000 third running of the Lure by 11⁄4 lengths over a mile on the inner turf.
Charming Kitten, trained by Todd Pletcher with John Velazquez in the saddle, was second, followed by Reload. There were only five entries in this short field.
Under Control, trained by Graham Motion, now has five wins, six seconds and four thirds in 19 career starts.
“He had a great trip,” Motion said. “I said to my wife down the backside, ‘I don’t know how he’s going to run, but I love where he’s at. He ran super. This horse gets better as he gets older.”
Under Control paid $12.60, $4.90 and $2.20.
DE LA ROSE
Recepta won the $100,000 De La Rose by 21⁄2 lengths for trainer Jimmy Toner and Velazquez in the irons.
Tuttipaesi, with Junior Alvarado aboard, and A Little Bit Sassy, ridden by Rafael Hernandez, were second and third, respectively. The finish order stood despite a steward’s inquiry.
Recepta has four wins in 10 career starts but had only one victory in her previous six races. She paid $8.30, $4.80 and $3.70.
“She’s been training great and doing good,” Toner said. “Johnny just fits her great, he really does. He rode a great race on her. We knew the speed was here. She broke cleanly and got a nice spot, and you could see on the backside he had her where we wanted to be. It was just a question of when he was ready to go with her.
“Typical, he saved ground; it opened up for him, and he was able to come through.”
Velazquez said he got lucky.
“She responded right away when I got to the spot there, because the horse on the inside started getting out,” he said. “I was afraid that the horse on the outside was going to push her in.”