Trainer Phil Serpe was surprised that Weekend Hideaway went off at almost 7-1 in the John Morrissey.
He wasn’t surprised that Red and Black Stable’s 4-year-old Speightstown colt won.
Jose Lezcano hustled Weekend Hideaway to the front early, and he finished it off by two lengths over betting favorite Big Business at Saratoga Race Course on Friday.
That gave Weekend Hideaway a 3-1-0 record from four lifetime starts at Saratoga.
“Our horse was training great, and I actually thought he was getting the Rodney Dangerfield treatment there a little bit,” Serpe said. “Weekend Hideaway is usually in the mix. He’s got six wins in 16 starts, with three seconds and three thirds, so you can’t look away from that.”
Facing an evenly matched field of New York-breds going 6 1⁄2 furlongs, Weekend Hideaway was pestered by Moonlight Song down the backstretch through a half-mile in 44.80.
Weekend Hideaway answered the bell at the top of the stretch and started to pull away at the eighth pole, then responded further to Lezcano’s stick inside the sixteenth pole to confidently hold off Big Business to win his second straight
“I let him use his early speed,” Lezcano said. “Sometimes in the gate, he misses the break. But today he broke good and settled in front. When I asked him, he gave me what I needed to win the race.”
“I was actually a little concerned when they first broke, because I didn’t see our horse anywhere,” Serpe said. “But was I nervous? No. Jose was just sitting on him. I didn’t see his arms moving at all, so I was pretty happy with that. When [Tom] Durkin called the 44 and change, I was a little concerned, but I figured the track was a little tight from the rain we had before, so that can happen up here.”
West Hills Giant finished third, and Saratoga Snacks, owned by NFL Hall of Famer Bill Parcells, was fourth in his first start since January and his first since being transferred to trainer Bill Mott’s barn.
Curlin winner V. E. Day worked seven furlongs on the main track in 1:30.17, and trainer Jimmy Jerkens said he’s leaning “75-25” toward running him in the Travers next Saturday.
The other alternative is the Saranac on the turf on closing day.
“It looked like he galloped out real strong, so he had to go a mile in 1:43, at least, or 1:42 and 3 [tenths], something like that, because he was galloping out every bit as strong as he was finishing,” Jerkens said.
Jerkens is also pointing Jim Dandy winner Wicked Strong for the Travers.
He’s scheduled to breeze on the main track today.
Also expected for the $1.25 million race are Belmont winner Tonalist, Haskell winner Bayern, Belmont Derby Invitational winner Mr Speaker, Coltimus Prime, Dwyer winner Kid Cruz, Charge Now, Viva Majorca, Commanding Curve and Ulbanator. C J’s Awesome is possible.
The Travers draw will be held 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Druthers on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
ICE BUCKET LIST
Jockeys John Velazquez, Mike Luzzi, Jose Ortiz, Manuel Franco and Irad Ortiz Jr. and former jockey Richard Migliore dumped buckets of ice water over their heads in the paddock as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that has raised millions of dollares for the ALS Association in the last two weeks.
NYRA donated $1,000 on behalf of the jockeys, who challenged several trainers Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown, Jeremiah Englehart, Mike Hushion, Bruce Levine, Linda Rice, Rick Violette and Graham Motion, owner Roddy Valente and NYRA handicapper Andy Serling to meet their challenge.