Antipathy had spent the last few months stuck behind other talented fillies, but she stood alone in the spotlight at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday after her first graded stakes win.
The 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy won the Grade III Shuvee by two lengths over Stanwyck on a muddy track, adding to a resume that already included a third-place finish by a neck in the Grade I Ogden Phipps behind Close Hatches and Princess of Sylmar.
“She’s just gotten good,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “She’s improved a lot. Looking back at the allowance races she lost, two nice fillies beat us. One won the Delaware Handicap. She’s improving, and we’re very happy to get a Grade III win and Grade I placed for a Darley homebred.”
Antipathy also was second to Delaware Handicap winner Belle Gallantey in May and to Natalie Victoria in March, both in optional claimers.
She opened her 4-year-old campaign with a win on a sloppy Gulfstream Park track, and her second to Belle Gallantey was in the mud, so McLaughlin knew she would handle the mud after rain pounded the area in the morning and returned briefly midway through the card. He also was confident her breeding by A.P. Indy would guarantee she handle the 1 1⁄8-mile distance, the longest she’s tried.
Then it came down to the trip she got under jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who let her take him directly to the front, but then quickly yielded the lead to Swinger’s Party.
“He let her run a little bit, and I think he did the right thing,” Ortiz said. “We were going to go too slow, so he let her run a little bit, and then I got clear.”
Around the half-mile pole, Swinger’s Party began to fade, eventually finishing last of the seven runners. As Antipathy moved past her, Unlimited Budget, Hot Stones and Stanwyck followed in her wake through the far turn. Rounding into the stretch, Unlimited Budget was spent, and Stanwyck made her move under Joel Rosario around Hot Stones. She had no chance of catching Antipathy, though, who came out to find more solid footing.
“I didn’t want to be too close to the rail,” Ortiz said. “You could see when I got to the last turn, I didn’t want to be too close to the rail. I let her drift a little bit to better ground.”
Antipathy paid $6.40 to win, $4.10 to place and $2.90 to show. Stanwyck returned $4.60 and $3.20, while Hot Stones, owned by Loudonville’s Roddy Valente, paid $3.40.
Hot Stones’ last two wins, including her last race in the Grade III Bed O’ Roses at Belmont last month, were under Ortiz.
Stanwyck also owns a third to Close Hatches, hers in the Grade I Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April. She won the Grade III Turnback the Alarm at Belmont last October.
Rosario said he thought he had a chance entering the stretch, but despite the loss, was pleased with his filly.
“Perfect trip,” Rosario said. “I made a little move on the turn, and I thought maybe we were going to get some more. We were probably second best today.”
McLaughlin and Godolphin Racing will start looking for a next spot for Antipathy, possibly the Grade I Personal Ensign at this distance on Aug. 22.