There must be something in the water.
Carameaway came out of the Critical Eye Stakes at Belmont Park sick in May, having tired to finish eighth, 22 1⁄4 lengths from the winner. After shaking the illness, the chestnut filly started working back at Belmont, then came to Saratoga Race Course, where trainer Mitchell Friedman said she “blossomed.”
Her return to form resulted in her first stakes win Thursday, as she led stablemate Dreaming of Cara to the wire in the Saratoga Dew, a 1 1⁄8 dirt race for New York-bred fillies and mares 3 and up.
“When she came up here after being sick, she just blossomed. Her coat started being bright red, she started eating everything,” Friedman said of Carameaway. “When you see a horse do that — and they all do that up here — you know you’re coming over here with a lot of confidence when they do that.”
It was just her fourth win in 23 career starts, her first since April 4, 2013, in an allowance at Aqueduct.
Carameaway was working well even before she came to Saratoga, turning in a four-furlong breeze at Belmont in :46 4⁄5 to be the second-fastest of 73 on July 6.
Breaking from the rail under jockey Rajiv Maragh, Carameaway joined Easy Living and Get Gorgeous on the front end and remained with Easy Living as Get Gorgeous dropped back off the pace.
She remained within a length of Easy Living, running just outside her, through fractions of 24.21 and 48:34, then poked ahead of the early leader approaching the three-eighths pole.
“I told him, ‘If you can lay off the pace a little bit . . .’ and he kept telling me, ‘How am I going to do that?’ ” Friedman said. “I said, ‘Just try.’ He stayed second, and it worked out.”
Once Easy Living lost the lead, she lost ground in a hurry and finished fifth. Meanwhile, Carameaway was pulling away from Get Gorgeous, who had been running third throughout. Dreaming of Cara passed Get Gorgeous late in the final turn, but she couldn’t make up any ground on Carameaway, who won by 31⁄2 lengths.
“She broke really well, she was up there early and she was really willing to go,” Maragh said. “I got in the clear and we didn’t get dirty, which I was happy about. I just kept her in the clear, and she just powered away from the field today. No one really got in range of her. She just took over midway on the turn, and once she opened up, there were really no anxious moments after that.”
Dreaming of Cara hit the wire 1 3⁄4 lengths ahead of Get Gorgeous to give owner Richard Greeley the 1-2 finish.
Both halves of the entry paid $11.20, $11.00 and $6.00, while Get Gorgeous paid $5.60 to show.
The 1-2 finish netted the entry’s connections $80,000 of the $100,000 purse money.
“It was nice. I’m glad for the owner, because he’s put a lot of money into this business,” Friedman said. “He’s a loyal breeder and a loyal owner. He deserves it; he’s a good guy.”