SARATOGA SPRINGS — If anyone was complaining about Thursday’s rain, the filly Introduced’s connections were not among them.
The turf sprinter had run just twice on dirt in her 12-race career, then got another shot at it when the feature at Saratoga Race Course, the Smart N Fancy, was rained off the turf.
She improved to 3-for-3 on dirt by winning the Smart N Fancy by 3 1/4 lengths as the 3-5 betting favorite under Manny Franco.
Her other starts on dirt were a victory in the Miss Disco at Laurel Park last year and a maiden win in 2018 at Laurel in another race that had been scheduled on the grass but was rained off.
“She handled [a wet track] in training, and we were confident she’d handle it today,” trainer Jorge Duarte said. “She’s a really nice filly. She showed on the track that she’s very consistent. She runs good numbers on both [surfaces]. It’s nice to have that option. You don’t have that too many times. Hopefully, she carries on this year and we’ll see what comes.”
Franco used an inside path to track front-runner Peaceful and jockey Tyler Gaffalione early, then engaged in a coming off the turn that she won by pulling away at the sixteenth pole.
“He [Duarte] told me to let the seven [Peaceful] go, but they didn’t break with the intention to clear me, so I held my position inside and the filly did the rest,” Franco said. “She was comfortable inside. That position never bothered her at any point of the race.
“She’s a nice filly. We know she can run on both surfaces. She ran hard today.”
“We were the only two speed horses in the race, so I tried to make it a little uncomfortable for her, but she’s a quality filly,” Gaffalione said. “My filly put up a good fight, but she was just second-best today. She handled it fine. The track had a bit of moisture, and it helped carry her a little bit, but she’s better on grass.”
Meet-leading jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. was off his mounts after hurting his wrist before the last race on Wednesday’s card.
He wound up on the ground when Dial Me Up acted up at the gate and was a late scratch.
X-rays on Ortiz’s wrist were negative, and he might return on Friday.
Ortiz’s brother, Jose, was also banged-up on Wednesday, when Krubera reared in the starting gate, wrenching Ortiz’s knee. He limped off, was cleared by first aid and resumed riding.
In the first race on Thursday, Benjamin Hernandez was unseated by Majestic View right at the finish line and was spun around facing back up the track while landing on his rear.
Hernandez walked off and was able to resume riding, as Majestic View was still credited with third place.