SARATOGA SPRINGS — Feel Glorious saved ground early and gobbled up ground late.
Guided to the inside by jockey Junior Alvarado, she tracked the field for Friday’s feature, the Perfect Sting for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, from the back of the pack.
He angled her to the middle of the track for the late stages of the stretch run, and Feel Glorious used her big kick to win by a half-length over Chaleur.
“She broke very sharp out of the gate. She’s a tricky filly,” Alvarado said. “She can be a little rank sometimes, but most of that depends on the pace of the race. Coming into the first turn, I felt we were going a bit slow, so I tried not to fight too much with her and got to the rail.
“I was a little closer in the race that way and I didn’t have too much to do at the end. Every time I asked her for a little bit of run, she was there for me. When we turned for home, I got lucky to get that nice run on the outside and she showed a nice kick at the end.”
“She’s such an exciting filly because you always have a shot,” co-owner Dean Reeves said. “Once she clears, she just takes off. It’s just amazing. The kick that she has, it’s as good as anybody. So when I saw her get in the clear, it was pretty exciting and I thought we had a great shot to run the leaders down.”
“He probably felt it was never in doubt because he rode her with an enormous amount of confidence, so he probably felt he had a lot of horse underneath him the whole time,” trainer Christophe Clement said.
Feel Glorious, who finished sixth in the Grade II Lake Placid at Saratoga last year, won for the first time in three starts this season.
In the Perfect Sting, she was dropping in class from graded stakes company, but still faced some tough competition, including the Chad Brown-trained Altea, who was fourth to stablemate Rushing Fall in the Grade I Jenny Wiley at Keeneland last time out.
She was the 9-5 favorite in the Perfect Sting, but finished fourth.
“It was a short field of good fillies, and I think she [Feel Glorious] was the fourth or fifth choice in the race, which surprised me because she trained very well and her two races this year were good races,” Clement said. “I like her and I’ve always thought she was a very consistent filly. She’s on the way up, and she is a better horse this year than she was last year.”
Trainer Bob Baffert’s two confirmed Kentucky Derby horses, Authentic and Thousand Words, will be ridden by John Velazquez and Florent Geroux, respectively, according to the Daily Racing Form. Velazquez is also the regular rider for Gamine, one of the top contenders in the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks.
Velazquez will not be allowed back on the Saratoga Race Course grounds for the last two racing cards because of safety restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The Derby is Sept. 5, and closing day at Saratoga is Sept. 7.
The DRF also reported that several jockeys will stay in Saratoga instead of traveling to Louisville for Derby Week, including Irad and Jose Ortiz, Joel Rosario and Luis Saez.
Manny Franco, who was popped with a three-day suspension on Friday for careless riding on opening day, will go to Churchill Downs to ride Derby favorite Tiz the Law, who won the Travers last Saturday. His suspension, for which he chose not to appeal, will take place next Wednesday through Friday.
Churchill Downs is requiring jockeys from out of town to be on the grounds by Aug. 31.
AMERICA’S PASTIME WINS AGAIN
Leaky Cup took the eighth race on Friday’s card, giving co-owner America’s Pastime Stables their third win of the meet.
The gelding didn’t make it back to the winner’s circle, though, as jockey Junior Alvarado pulled him up near the seven-furlong chute during the gallop-out. Leaky Cup walked onto a horse van to be examined.
Shuttleworth Park general manager and Amsterdam Mohawks president Brian Spagnola is America’s Pastime managing partner. Leaky Cup represented the overall 13th winner for the stable since it was formed a year and a half ago.