SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Good buy or goodbye, it made no difference for Shekky Shebaz on Friday.
He got to the lead under Jose Ortiz and comfortably held off the competition to win the $100,000 Lucky Coin at 5 1/2 furlongs on the Mellon Turf Course at Saratoga Race Course.
Purchased privately out of a winning race at Saratoga on July 27 by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables, Shekky Shebaz paid instant dividends, while beating multiple stakes winner Disco Partner, who has earned almost $1.5 million in his career.
Ortiz also rode Shekky Shebaz in the claiming race in July, when the 4-year-old gelding was trained and owned by Ortiz's brother-in-law, Adam Rice.
"My colt was very sharp [on July 27], and the team, they bought him; it was a good buy," Ortiz said.
And it was goodbye to the field in the Lucky Coin, as Shekky Shebaz, now trained by Jason Servis, got to the front and went through the quarter-mile in 22.40 and the half in 44.39.
Final Frontier held second place all the way around the track, but wasn't able to chip away at Shekky Shebaz's lead and finished 1 3/4 lengths back, as Disco Partner moved into third in the field reduced to five horses by four scratches.
"I knew he was a very good horse out of the gate," Ortiz said. "With Jason, I was expecting him to break a little bit quicker, which he did and put me there a little easy. From the half-mile pole, I just let him get control and roll.
"Disco Partner, I think, is not the same anymore. He's getting a little old, to be honest. Final Frontier ran huge last time, which Shekky did, too. The only thing [different] is he ran for a tag, but he did run huge."
Saturday's Woodward card includes three other graded stakes, the six-furlong Grade II Prioress for 3-year-old fillies, the Grade III Saranac for 3-year-olds on the turf and the Grade II Glens Falls for older 3-year-old fillies and mares on the turf.
Five fillies are scheduled to try and hand Break Even the first loss of her career, after she has gone 6-for-6 by a combined 21 lengths, most recently in the Coronation Cup at Saratoga on July 14, her first start on the turf.
She's 1-2 on the morning line while facing another undefeated filly -- albeit much more lightly raced -- in Risky Mandate, an impressive allowance winner at Saratoga on July 24.
"She's certainly shown her ability, being able to win on both surfaces," Break Even trainer Brad Cox told the New York Racing Association. "Returning to the dirt, she has a lot of speed, so tactically, at least on paper it looks like we can take advantage of that, but we'll just let do her thing as she hasn't made any mistakes so far."
Among Break Even's victories is the Grade II Eight Belles on Kentucky Derby Day.
As usual, trainer Chad Brown is well-stocked with good horses on the undercard.
He'll saddle 4-1 Royal Charlotte in the Prioress off a sixth place in the Grade I Test, her first career loss after four straight victories dating to March.
Brown has the 2-1 favorite in the Saranac, Good Governance, and has three in the Glens Falls, 2-1 Santa Monica, 5-2 Fools Gold and long shot Night of England.
Santa Monica is a multiple graded stakes winner coming off a close third to Fools Gold in the Grade III Waya.
AROUND THE TRACK
The 2019 Saratoga meet will conclude with the traditional closing weekend graded stakes for 2-year-olds on the dirt, Sunday's Grade I Spinaway for fillies and Monday's Grade I Hopeful, which will be accompanied by the Grade II Bernard Baruch on the turf.
The Spinaway field, in post-position order from the rail out, will be Mundaye Call, Frank's Rockette, Perfect Alibi, Miss Peppina, Figure of Speech, Risky Mischief and Shippy.
Perfect Alibi and Frank's Rockette were 1-2, respectively, in the Adirondack on Aug. 4.
Monday's Hopeful was drawn Friday, with a field that includes Shoplifted, American Butterfly, Green Light Go, Gozilla, By Your Side, Inside Risk and Basin.
Green Light Go is coming off a win in the Saratoga Special, and Gozilla was an impressive maiden winner on Aug. 10. ...
Cox said that he'll be looking to get Monomoy Girl into a race soon, after she posted her second published workout last Saturday in 48.20 for four furlongs at Churchill Downs.
The start of her 2019 season has been postponed by a bout with colic in April. Her 2018 Eclipse Award-winning season included victories in the Breeders' Cup Distaff and the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga, over Midnight Bisou.