I Spent It showed early maturity waiting for his opening along the rail Sunday to win the Grade II Saratoga Special.
Jockey Javier Castellano kept the 2-year-old Super Saver colt within two lengths of the leaders through the first half mile of the 6 1⁄2-furlong juvenile run at Saratoga Race Course, then saw his opening when pacesetting Nonna’s Boy came away from the rail.
“He was very professional,” trainer Tony Dutrow said of I Spent It. “He sat in there, when there was an opening, he went to it. His gallop-out was big. I’m tooting my own horn about my own horse, but I’m just so proud of him. I’m so blessed to be able to train a horse like this.”
Part of Super Saver’s first crop of progeny, I Spent It is 2-for-2 and is his sire’s first graded-stakes winner. I Spent It was bought at auction in March for $600,000. Super Saver, winner of the 2010 Kentucky Derby, has four other winners racing, including Hashtag Bourbon, who won the Mountaineer Juvenile on Aug. 2. High Dollar Woman and buzz horse Competitive Edge both broke their maidens earlier in the meet at Saratoga.
Nonna’s Boy and Majestic Affair both broke sharply, but jockey Jose Lezcano quickly took Majestic Affair back just off the pace. Cinco Charlie came forward to join Nonna’s Boy, running a length back through fractions of 21.67 and 44.65. Coming around the turn, I Spent It sped along the rail to approach the leaders, and as they came into the top of the stretch, Castellano found room inside Nonna’s Boy.
“There was nowhere to go; [along the rail] was the only way he had, so I took a shot,” Castellano said. “The way he did it was brilliant. It was an impressive run; I think he’s the real deal. He’s a young horse, and he’s never been here before. And driving him home, he went just through and opened up. Not a lot of horses can do that.”
Majestic Affair ran three-wide through the turn and looked like he might have a line on a closing move, but he faded through the stretch. Coming on inside of him and a couple lengths behind I Spent It, Mr. Z rallied and switched out to the outside, about five wide at the eighth pole to cruise outside of Nonna’s Boy. However, I Spent It already had found daylight inside and was running off to a growing 2 3⁄4-length victory. Mr. Z finished second, another five lengths ahead of third-place W V Jetsetter.
I Spent It returned $7.80, $4.50 and $3.10 for the win. Mr. Z paid $4.30 and $2.90, while W V Jetsetter paid $5.30 to show.
The win gives Dutrow a sweep of the first two graded stakes at the meet for 2-year-old males. He won the Grade III Sanford with Big Trouble, who beat Mr. Z by a neck for that score.
“He’s a really good horse. He’s going to show it over time,” said Justin Zayat, owner of Mr. Z. “He’s tough, you know? He takes his bumping every time. But you can’t beat Tony Dutrow; he keeps doing this to me. Two turns is what our horse needs. As soon as we go two turns, we’ll see a different type of horse.”
Mr. Z was bumped from both sides at the start on Sunday and ran sixth through the first half mile, then still put together a good closing effort.
Dutrow will wait to talk to owners Alex and JoAnn Lieblong to choose I Spent It’s next target, though he said he would prefer to wait for the Grade I Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 4.
Wherever he runs, I Spent It won’t have to worry about running into Big Trouble, as that colt is out for at least the rest of the year with a torn suspensory ligament in his right foreleg, an injury discovered after a five-furlong workout on Aug. 1 at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Big Trouble also is 2-for-2.
Dutrow’s still got one strong 2-year-old in the barn, though.
“So impressive. You’ve got to be a good horse to do that,” he said. “Bad horses can’t do that. He’s always led all of us to believe, especially lately, especially since his last race, we’ve all been so looking forward to today. We really thought we were going to see something like this today.”