So Lonesome had seven horses trying to make his acquaintance, if only he would have looked behind him.
The Tom Bush-trained son of Awesome Again, So Lonesome ran away with the $250,000 Albany, a 1 1⁄8-mile dirt race for New York-bred 3-year-olds. It was the highlight of the Saratoga Showcase, a day in which all 11 races were for state-bred horses and there were six stakes.
Bush brought So Lonesome back to dirt after running him on turf his last three races and five of his last six.
“We think he likes the turf, as well,” Bush said. “The turf, I think, helped the horse get built up a little bit. He was always a lightly muscled colt. He just needed a lot of time and a lot of training and a lot of racing to get him tight enough. He moves much better now than he did when he was a younger horse. I think he’s turned the corner, and we’re just happy to see him get back in the game and run like we know he can.”
Out of the gate, Captain Serious went to the lead, but he relinquished it exiting the first turn. So Lonesome took the lead and pulled several lengths away from Captain Serious and the rest of the field during the backstretch. He repelled one more challenge by Captain Serious in the final turn and won by a widening four lengths over Effinex.
Bush said he will consider the $300,000 Empire Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 18 for So Lonesome’s next race.
Mechanicville’s Chad Brown elected to skip Saturday’s Grade II Ballston Spa with Dayatthespa in favor of the $150,000 Yaddo on the showcase day, a 1 1⁄16-mile turf race for New York-bred fillies and mares 3 and older. Dayatthespa and jockey Javier Castellano made the decision pay off with a front-running win.
Discreet Marq kept close to Dayatthespa, but she was unable to put together a stretch drive.
“The second quarter-mile concerned me the most because it looked like the other filly drew alongside and Javier, for a moment there, might have had his hands full,” Brown said. “Then it appears Discreet Marq backed off, or we might have spurted away, I’m not exactly sure. She tried her again on the turn, but our filly was dead-game today and proved best.”
Brown said the goal this year has been the Grade I First Lady at Keeneland in October. Dayatthespa is now 4-1-0 from five starts at Saratoga, posting one win each year of her racing career.
A day after winning the $1.25 million Travers with V. E. Day and finishing second with Wicked Strong, trainer Jimmy Jerkens went back to work and won the $200,000 Fleet Indian, a 11⁄8-mile dirt race for 3-year-old fillies, with Star Grazing.
Star Grazing came in off an allowance win here in her first try at the distance.
“She had a nice prep a couple weeks ago,” Jerkens said. “Having a race over this track, it means a lot.”
Star Grazing won that allowance by three-quarters of a length after stalking a slow pace throughout. She had to close from farther back Sunday, trailing by 3 1⁄4 lengths through the first six furlongs, closing to within 1 1⁄2 entering the stretch. As pacesetter Alwaysinstilettos yielded the lead to Flipcup, who came on along the rail, Star Grazing found room between them under jockey Angel Arroyo and bested Flipcup by three-quarters of a length.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. did not have to hit King Kreesa once in the $150,000 West Point, a 1 1⁄16-mile turf run for horses 3 and older, even with the 5-year-old coming off an eight-month layoff. King Kreesa last ran in Hong Kong on Dec. 8 in the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile.
“That horse, I get along with him,” Ortiz said. “I always ride him, and he’s a fighter. He’s keeps fighting. In the end, I knew we’d get there for the victory.”
Upstart, trained by Rick Violette, came from last to first to win the 6 1⁄2-furlong $200,000 Funny Cide for 2-year-olds. Bustin It had opened up about a four-length lead on the Todd Pletcher-trained Bullheaded Boy. Then Upstart and jockey Jose Ortiz made an outside move in the turn to put most of the field in their rear-view mirror, then fired past Bustin It, the leader through the first 5 1⁄2 furlongs.
“He actually broke well, and Jose just put his hands down and let him fall where he was going to be, and he fell out the back door,” Violette said. “I really thought Todd’s horse was going to show more speed and hook up with the Bustin Stones horse [Bustin It], and he didn’t. So he opened up another five in front, and we were still out the back door. He had horse; you could see he had horse, but you just weren’t sure he could make up that much ground on a pretty nice horse that was loose on the lead.”
The 6 1⁄2-furlong dirt run for 2-year-old fillies, the $200,000 Seeking the Ante, was won by 8-1 Myfourchix. Trained by Richard Schosberg and ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, Myfourchix benefited from the outside post in the field of six, keeping her off the fast pace set by Evrybdymstgetstonz and favored Hard to Stay Notgo.
After Evrybdymstgetstonz broke out to the lead, Hard to Stay Notgo soon joined her through a first quarter in :21.66 and a half in :45.61. By the time they reached the turn, Evrybdymstgetstonz was spent and dropped back to fourth. Myfourchix entered the turn intent on keeping pressure on Hard to Stay Notgo, and she gained the advantage rounding into the stretch. Hard to Stay Notgo was held on for second, and Nonna Jo beat Evrybdymstgetstonz for third.
“The post position helped, Cornelio rode a perfect race,” Schosberg said. “Junior [Alvarado, who left the mount to ride Hard to Stay Notgo] did nothing wrong by going to an even-money shot; he had to. But we had a perfect position. The first quarter mile helped us out, 21 and change.”