It was as easy as it should have been for a multiple Grade I winner, as Dayatthespa won the $150,000 Yaddo on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
The 1 1⁄16-mile turf race for New York-bred fillies and mares 3 and older served as a bit of a test for the 4-year-old daughter of City Zip, but not because of the competition. Trainer Chad Brown, a Mechanicville native, used it as a step back from a loss in her last start and a chance to see how she rated.
“She got beat down at Monmouth, and I just felt like I needed to get her back on track and run her in an easier race she could handle,” Brown said. “This served the purpose. You’re going to see her in graded stakes the rest of the year.”
Sally’s Dream went to the front at the break and led the field into the far turn before yielding to Dayatthespa, who had been sitting two lengths off the leader, waiting for jockey Javier Castellano to ask her for more.
“Not that we took it for granted that we were definitely going to win, but if we were going to try to rate her more, we’d rather do it in easier competition,” Brown said. “If she fires the way we think she will . . . [we wanted to] use it as a training exercise. She’s going to have to run against much tougher horses in the fall. The idea was to rate her, and it was beautiful, the other horse went out and gave us a target. Then Javier rated her on the outside, experimented with her a little bit there, and it worked out. All in all, I thought she ran great.”
Sally’s Dream set fractions of 25.37 and 49.35 through the quarter- and half-mile marks. Dayatthespa is used to going a bit faster, but she allowed Castellano to keep her from running off.
“She relaxed today,” Castellano said. “She doesn’t have to be on the lead. The first jump, I let somebody else go to the lead and just stayed tracking. Tough fractions, 25 and 49, so she was pulling me because she wanted to go. But I like how she relaxed into the first turn behind the front-runner. From there, she did the rest.”
Coming off the turn, Dayatthespa was in control, and Wholelottashakin came with her to finish 1 3⁄4 lengths back in second under Jose Lezcano. Edgar Prado had Inimitable Romanee in third, another half-length back.
“She had a good race,” Lezcano said. “She broke good, and she put us right there. When I asked her, she gave a good kick, but the other filly kept going. She went after her, but the other filly picked it up, too. My filly ran a great race.”
The next start for Dayatthespa is uncertain, except that it will be a graded stakes.
“She definitely shows an affinity for Keeneland; she’s undefeated there, as well,” Brown said. “They have a Grade I there going a mile in October [$750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile on Oct. 5]. Whether she runs between now and then, I’m just not sure. I’ve got to look at the schedule.”
Veteran handicappers Tom Amello and Nick Kling will participate in a Travers Stakes preview discussion at the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Thursday at 10:30 a.m.
The longtime co-hosts of “Trackfacts Live” on the Capital OTB channel will discuss some of the key races leading up to the Travers and participate in a question-and-answer session with panelists. The event is free to the public.
’POINT’-ING TO BC
Five-time Grade I winner Point of Entry, out since June 9 with a condylar fracture in his left hind cannon bone, has been making good progress in Ocala, Fla., and could still make the Breeders’ Cup in November, trainer Shug McGaughey said.
The injury was discovered the day after Point of Entry won the Grade I Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day.
Winner of the Sword Dancer at Saratoga last year, Point of Entry had surgery on June 10. The long-range plan was for him to run in Saturday’s Arlington Million, but instead, he has been recovering.
“He’s been doing very well,” McGaughey said. “He’s in Ocala, he’s been jogging. Everything being equal, he’s going to start galloping on Monday. So everything’s going along fine so far.”
Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry, a 5-year-old son of Dynaformer, was scheduled to retire from racing after this season, but may still be able to sneak in a return to the Breeders’ Cup Turf, in which he was second by a half-length to Little Mike last year.
After a close 1-2 finish in the Evan Shipman here on July 22, Awesome Vision and Bigger Is Bettor did it again in the $100,000 Saratoga Sunrise, only this time they traded finishing positions.
Awesome Vision rallied from off the pace set by Most Happy Fella for the win, beating Bigger Is Bettor by just barely a length. Bigger Is Bettor was just off the back hip of Most Happy Fella throughout until passing him in the stretch to finish second. Most Happy Fella held off Anaphylaxis for third.
Transparent, the horse that hit the wire first in the July 26 Curlin but was disqualified down to fifth, breezed Friday morning for the Travers, going four furlongs in 49.92 seconds.
“He worked well,” trainer
Kiaran McLaughlin said. “Being that he had 112 days off before his last race, we’re happy to get a couple works into him. It was a true prep, the Curlin. We’re happy with his work. We’re heading to the Travers.”
Former turf writer Bill Nack will be at the Canfield Casino on Wednesday at 7 p.m. to discuss his memories of Saratoga racing. The event is free to the public.
Nack authored the book “Secretariat” in 1973 and will talk about Big Red’s win in the Hopeful in 1972, along with many other historical moments in racing at the “Graveyard of Favorites.”