SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Christophe Clement-Joel Rosario combination struck again at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, as Rosario guided Classic Lady to victory in the $85,000 Dayatthespa for fillies and mares on the turf.
It was the fourth stakes win of the meet by a horse trained by Clement and ridden by Rosario.
Classic Lady was racing for just the second time this year, after a loss by a nose to Fifty Five in the Mount Vernon at Belmont Park on July 2.
She won by a neck over War Canoe this time, each of whom wore the familiar yellow silks with the pink rose emblem of owner Michael Dubb. Classic Lady previously was trained by Jorge Abreu before coming to Clement’s barn this season.
“It’s great. She’s a stakes winner [now],” Clement said. “She’s run twice for us and run well twice. It’s exciting. We’ve got more races coming up. The big question is going to be whether she wants to go a mile and an eighth or not, but we don’t have to decide that now.”
Vortex Road set the early fractions, with Classic Lady in second until she poked her nose in front at the eighth pole. By then, her stablemate War Canoe, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., was making a bid on the outside, but Classic Lady was able to get to the finish line first.
“It was a perfect trip,” Rosario said. “I was just following the horse on the lead and I just wanted to take my time. She looked like she was there for me nicely, and I just waited for the right time to start going forward. She was very comfortable and happy where she was, and I was just following the horse on the lead waiting for the time when she was ready to go on.”
“I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “I can’t complain. Second-best. We just got beat. She fought but the other filly was more forwardly placed the whole race. We went a little slow and she had something in the tank, but I had to come from way back.”
“I was pretty confident because Joel did not use our filly until the stretch, while the other filly moved into the turn,” Clement said. “I just thought it was going to be a long stretch for the other filly, and Joel proved me right. She’s sound, she’s all good, she tries very hard, she’s very game. Let’s keep going and try to win some more. We just wake up in the morning and it’s business as usual.”
Trainer Bill Mott celebrated his 68th birthday in atypical fashion — by not winning a race at Saratoga.
He had just one entered on Wednesday’s card, Lone Rock in the sixth, and he finished second.
Mott has won a race at Saratoga on his birthday 16 times.
New York-breds take the spotlight in Thursday’s feature, the $85,000 John Morrissey sprint.
Funny Guy is a slight favorite, at 5-2, off a win in the Commentator at Belmont on June 12, against a field that included Whitney long shot Mr. Buff and Bankit.
Last summer, Funny Guy won the Albany at Saratoga by a head over Bankit, who is the 3-1 second choice in the John Morrissey off his third in the Commentator. Bankit had been testing open company and was third by just 2 3/4 lengths to Whitney favorite Tom’s d’Etat and another Whitney entrant, Improbable, in the Oaklawn Mile in April.