SARATOGA SPRINGS — Despite her name, Newly Minted was anything but fresh and shiny at the end of the Union Avenue on Thursday.
Nevertheless, she scratched and clawed her way to a neck victory over Mrs. Orb, as favorite Ratajkowski loomed toward the end but fell back to fifth after catching the back heel of Newly Minted’s right hind hoof.
Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Newly Minted also survived a steward’s inquiry for angling a bit off the rail in deep stretch, as Ratajkowski was grinding away from behind and one path to the outside.
Newly Minted’s victory stood, in her first start since a second in the Heavenly Prize at Aqueduct in early March.
“I was concerned at first when I saw the head-on replay and they put the [on-screen graphic] lines up,” trainer Linda Rice said. “I could see the filly was laboring and she was tired at the end of it. But Jose told me, ‘Look Linda, I know she came over a little bit. She was tired.’ But he said he was well in front of her [Ratajkowski].”
“It was a tough trip,” Lezcano said. “The 1 horse [Ratajkowski] got outside me early, and we were under pressure the whole way. I could feel her getting tired, but she battled all the way to the end. She’s all heart.”
Dylan Davis, a Saratoga Springs High School graduate and son of long-time New York circuit rider Robbie Davis, was second on Mrs. Orb and is a hot rider at the start of this racing week.
He had two winners on Wednesday’s card and another with Miss Marissa in the sixth on Thursday’s card, at 20-1 by far the longest shot in a five-horse field.
Then he just missed by a neck on Mrs. Orb in the Union Avenue.
“This [seven furlongs] definitely isn’t her distance,” he said. “She needs a mile or farther. I had to stay with her, as she doesn’t like dirt in her face too much, so it was an outside trip and onto the task early, but she ran well. She’s nice and sound and finishing strong for us, so on to the next one. She’s a consistent mare and nice to ride.”
Jockey Luis Cardenas, who was injured in a spill during the fifth race on Sunday, has been off his mounts this week with a mild concussion, but could be riding again as early as Saturday.
The newcomer has won one race from 65 mounts at the meet, but the one victory drew media attention by virtue of the fact that it occurred in the first race of the meet, aboard Grit and Glory.
Grit and Glory ran on Thursday’s card, finishing fourth in the fourth race with Lezcano aboard.
NY TRAFFIC WORKS
Kentucky Derby hopeful Ny Traffic breezed five furlongs in 1:00.38 in company with 2019 Pennsylvania Derby winner Math Wizard on the main track.
The New York-bred Ny Traffic has assembled a solid resume without winning this season, finishing second in three straight graded stakes, with a third in the Grade II Risen Star before that.
“Math Wizard is a good work horse and with Ny Traffic, we wanted something not speedy but more for endurance,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “It was a steady work, but next week will probably be his stiffest work.
“Early in the year if you asked, I never thought he would be one of the leaders in the crop, but as time has gone on, I think we have a legit chance. Obviously, Tiz the Law ran impressively the other day [in the Travers], but I think we have a good chance.”
Math Wizard will likely point to the Grade II Charles Town Classic on Aug. 28, with the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga as a “slight possibility.”
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