Leinster wins Troy in record time

For the third time in eight days, a track record falls at Saratoga
Leinster and jockey Tyler Gaffalione roar home to win the Grade III Troy Stakes in 1:00.23.
Leinster and jockey Tyler Gaffalione roar home to win the Grade III Troy Stakes in 1:00.23.

Categories: Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS — World of Trouble, the best turf sprinter in the country, scratched out of the Grade III Troy at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday.

That didn’t mean that a track record wasn’t still in a world of trouble, though.

Taking advantage of a wicked fast track and a sub-22-second opening quarter-mile by frontrunner Rocket Heat, Leinster and jockey Tyler Gaffalione rocketed home in 1:00.23 to win the Troy.

That broke the record for 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon Turf Course set by Lady Shipman (1:00.46) in 2015, and was the third track record at Saratoga in the last eight days.

It was the second stakes victory in two days for trainer Rusty Arnold, whose 3-year-old turf filly star Concrete Rose won the inaugural Saratoga Oaks on Friday.

“The weekend’s been good. I have no complaints,” he said. “The horse just got good when we started sprinting him on the grass. He’s 3-for-3. I guess it took us a long time to figure out what he wanted to do.”

Leinster started his career 0-for-13, but has won his last three, all on the turf at 5 1/2 furlongs, by a combined 6 3/4 lengths. The Troy was his first stakes try.

Rocket Heat went through the first quarter in 20.82, stalked by four horses.

Gaffalione and Leinster chased him down on the outside and took the lead at the sixteenth pole to finish three-quarters of a length ahead of Disco Partner.

“That set it up. It was perfect,” Arnold said of the opening quarter.

“That’s pretty cool. I think that’s my first track record,” Gaffalione said. “It’s very special to have it happen here.”

On Thursday, King Zachary broke an almost 91-year-old track record with a 2:52.97 in the Birdstone Stakes at a mile and three-quarters on the main track. Reigh Count (2:55) set the previous mark on Sept. 1, 1928.

Imperial Hint won last Saturday’s Alfred G. Vanderbilt in 1:07.92 to break the six-furlong main track record. It had been co-owned by Spanish Riddle (1:08 in 1972) and Speightstown (1:08.04 in the 2004 Vanderbilt).

Shancelot actually ran six furlongs faster than Imperial Hint in the Amsterdam last Sunday, but it was an internal fraction while racing 6 1/2 furlongs.

Casa Creed just missed one on Friday with a 1:33.72 for a mile on the Inner Turf Course while winning the Grade II National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame. Seek Again (1:33.25, 2014) holds that mark.

Also on the card, Godolphin’s Lucullan and Luis Saez caught Sacred Life by a nose to win the $100,000 Lure at a mile and a sixteenth on the Inner Turf Course, and Got Stormy rolled by four lengths over Capla Temptress in the $100,000 De La Rose at a mile on the Inner.

“It was beautiful,” Saez said. “That was the plan. I knew that [Noble Indy] and [Voodoo Song] had the most speed, so everything went according to plan.

“At the three-eighths he was pulling me, but I still waited because I knew the horses in front were stopping. I had to save him until the end. When I let him go, he took off.”


Trainer Rusty Arnold said that Saratoga Oaks winner Concrete Rose probably will run in the third leg of the new Turf Tiara series, the Jockey Club Oaks at Belmont Park on Sept. 7.

She romped against a short field in the Saratoga Oaks and also won the first leg, the Belmont Oaks, in July. Concrete Rose, who is 4-for-4 in 2019, would stretch out to a mile and three-eighths if she runs in the Jockey Club Oaks.

“With the way she has run, I don’t think it [distance] will be a problem,” Arnold said. “Let’s face it, I don’t think you know until you do it, and I don’t think anybody knows, but it looks like after the way she ran we wouldn’t have an issue trying it, especially if she can get another easy lead.”

Also on the radar is the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II at Keeneland on Oct. 12, but Arnold said that race would be more appealing if Concrete Rose hadn’t already won at the Grade I level, which she did in the Belmont Oaks and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.


Catholic Boy arrived at Saratoga from Belmont Park Friday and galloped a mile and a half on the main track for Jonathan Thomas in preparation for the Aug. 31 Woodward.

The 2018 Travers winner is coming off a second to Preservationist in the Suburban.

“He came out of the race with a couple cuts,” Thomas said. “It took them a little longer to heal than I would have thought initially, so we’ve been very easy with him, just trying to let him regroup.

“He’s completely sound, but he had some superficial stuff that we wanted to heal up.”

If Catholic Boy makes it to the Woodward, he could face Tom’s d’Etat, who got some class relief by running in the Alydar on Friday and won by a length.

Week 5 is light on graded stakes, but is highlighted by the Grade I Fourstardave next Saturday.

Dr. Edgar, March to the Arch, Ostilio, Qurbaan, Raging Bull and Uni are probable, and Synchrony might run, too.

Also on the card, the Grade II Saratoga Special could draw the likes of Green Light Go, Iberico, January Won, King Snake, Long Weekend, Noose, Peruvian Boy, Rowdy Yates, Tornado Bill and Zyramid.

The New York Racing Association is doing away with the traditional Pick 6 wager in favor of a jackpot-style multi-race bet called the Empire 6, which will operate similarly to the Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park.

The new bet will kick off Wednesday and be in place for the rest of the meet. The Pick 6 will conclude on Sunday with a mandatory payout.

The Empire 6, featuring a $0.20 bet minimum and 20%, requires the bettor to select the first-place finisher of the final six races of the card.

If one unique ticket exists, 100% of the net pool, plus the jackpot carryover if applicable, will be paid to the winner. If there is no unique wager selecting the first-place finisher in all six races, then 75% of the day’s net pool will be distributed to those who selected the first-place finisher in the greatest number of races. The remainder will be added into the jackpot and carried to the next day’s Empire 6.

The Empire 6 will offer mandatory payout days on Sunday, Aug. 18 and Monday, Sept. 2, closing day at the Spa.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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