Bill Heller’s New York-Breds at the Races: August 10 to 16

Bonita Bianca Wins the Union Avenue Under Red-Hot Franco Thursday

By Bill Heller

Getting a perfect ride from Manny Franco, Saratoga’s hottest jockey, Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and Michael Imperio’s four-year-old filly Bonita Bianca ran down front-running Swing and Sway and Javier Castellano to take the $100,000 Union Avenue Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares by a length and a half Thursday at Saratoga. She completed the six and a half furlongs in 1:15.39. Bonita Bianca was sent off at odds of 7-2 and Swing and Sway went off at 7-1 odds in the field of five.

The defending champion in the Union Avenue Stakes, Picco Uno, sent off the 1-2 favorite under Irad Ortiz Jr., pressed the rapid pace set by Swing and Sway then faded to third, a length and a half behind the front-runner. Wonderment, the 25-1 longshot in the field ridden by David Cohen, was another seven lengths back in fourth.

Dormellito Stud bred Bonita Bianca, a daughter of Curlin out of Friendly Michelle by Artax who sold for $97,000 as a two-year-old in March 2016 and is trained by Jason Servis. Bonita Bianca finished sixth as the 3-2 favorite under Paco Lopez in a $75,000 stakes at Delaware in her previous start on July 7th.

Franco, who won three races Wednesday and the race before the Union Avenue Stakes Thursday, let her settle next-to-last as Swing and Sway set a torrid pace with Picco Uno a close second on her outside through a blazing first quarter-mile in :21.57 and a half-mile in a sizzling :44.02.

By then, Franco had Bonita Bianca three-wide and gaining ground quickly.

Picco Uno took one more run at Sing and Sway, who rebuffed her, as Bonita Bianca came flying at them. Bonita Bianca maintained her momentum and went right on by, winning going away.

“They were moving really fast early up front,” Servis said. “The fractions they were putting up kind of compromised Picco Uno, but it certainly benefitted Bonita Bianca. She got the perfect setup and certainly took advantage of it.”

Thanks to Franco’s patient ride. “I just took my time, and when the time came, I let her run,” Franco said.

Bonita Bianca is now six-for-12 in her outstanding career with one second, two thirds and earnings of more than $470,000.

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Edward Messina and William Butler Jr.’s homebred two-year-old filly Tradeable made her second start a winning one under Julien Leparoux, rallying to take a two-length lead in mid-stretch then holding off fast-finishing first-time starter Kitty’s Legacy and Joel Rosario by a head in a 5 1/2-furlong $75,000 New York-bred maiden special weight on the grass. Tradeable was the 5-2 favorite and Kitty’s Legacy, a full sister to multiple-graded-stakes-winning New York-bred grass superstar Fourstar Crook, went off at 6-1 odds in the field of 10.

Firster Zip It Jess, sent off at odds of 5-1 under Joe Bravo, finished third, nearly three lengths behind Kitty’s Legacy while a half-length ahead of 22-1 firster Sander’s Empire and Junior Alvarado.

John Hertler trains Tradeable, a daughter of Exchange Rate out of Considerate by Leroidesanimaux (BRZ) who made her debut on August 1st at Saratoga, rallying from seventh to finish second by a half-length at 44-1 odds. Bettors were all over her Thursday and she didn’t disappoint.

Leparoux got Tradeable away in mid-pack as 16-1 firster on the rail Rossby and Kendrick Carmouche took the field to a :22.11 first quarter and a half-mile in :45.97.

Then Tradeable rallied from between horses to take over and open up by two lengths past mid-stretch. She needed that cushion, as Kitty’s Legacy came flying at her. Tradeable held on to win in a final time of 1:04.60.

Tradeable has already earned more than $50,000 in her first two starts.

 

Shesasuperfreak Freaks Out in Winning Debut Wednesday

In a tour de force debut, Alex Kazdan’s two-year-old filly Shesasuperfreak took control around the far turn under Eric Cancel and powered to an impressive 10 ¾-length victory in a six-furlong $75,000 New York-bred maiden special weight at Saratoga Wednesday afternoon. Sent off at 12-1 odds in the field of nine, Shesasuperfreak won in a final time of 1:10.86.

Heartbustingirl, dispatched at 9-1 odds in her debut under Ricardo Santana Jr., finished a clear second, eight lengths clear of 5-1 firster Don’t Tell Addie and Florent Geroux. Firster Charming Care, who went off at odds of 19-1 with Junior Alvarado up, finished an extremely distant fourth.

Empire Equines bred Shesasuperfreak, a daughter of Shanghai Bobby out of Whispering by Quiet American who sold for $30,000 in May and is trained by Alejandro Maymo. Shesasuperfreak had seven fast works at Finger Lakes, including a bullet four furlongs in :48 1/5 and a bullet three furlongs in :36 3/5. Bettors weren’t impressed and sent her off at double-digit odds.

Breaking sharply from the eight post, Shesasuperfreak got away third on the outside as 9-2 firster D’s Sis, with Kendrick Carmouche up, and Heartbustingirl dueled for the lead through a :22.55 first quarter. Shesasuperfreak then moved up on the outside to engage D’s Sis around the far turn.

Shesasuperfreak struck the lead while coming out of the far turn and then turned the race into a showcase as she pulled away from the entire field to win utterly isolated at the finish line.

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Co-owner/trainer David Donk, Sean Carney, Michael McMahon and Copper Beach Stables’ two-year-old filly Elegant Zip wore down front-running Miss Flambe and then gamely hold off a bold challenge from Tossup to win a $75,000 New York-bred maiden special weight by three-quarters of a length Wednesday under Manny Franco. She covered the six-furlong distance in 1:10.65 to give Franco a sweep of the early daily double. Elegant Zip was sent off at odds of 6-5, Tossup went off at 3-2 odds under Jose Ortiz and Miss Flambe was 14-1 under Kendrick Carmouche in the field of seven.

Tossup salvaged second, 11 lengths ahead of Miss Flambe. Irish Banker, sent off at 22-1 odds under Pablo Fragoso, checked in a distant fourth.

Spruce Lane Farm and partners bred Elegant Zip, a daughter of Run Away and Hide out of Elegant Finish by Speightstown. Elegant Zip was making her second career start after a fine second-place finish by a length and three-quarters at 8-1 odds in her debut under Franco at Saratoga on July 25th.

Breaking from the adjoining five and six posts, Miss Flambe and Elegant Zip got away 1-2 with Miss Flambe leading Elegant Zip by a half-length through an opening quarter in :22.50. Then Tossup, tracking the duo from third, rushed up three-wide around the far turn to join them.

Coming out of the turn, Elegant Zip and Tossup separated themselves from Miss Flambe and went head-to-head down the stretch. Tossup just about drew even with Elegant Zip, who responded with another surge to regain a narrow lead near the sixteenth pole. Then Elegant Zip edged away to the wire for the hard-earned victory.

Elegant Zip has already earned more than $55,000 from just two starts.

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In Wednesday’s opener, a 6 ½-furlong $32,000 conditional $16,000 claimer featuring a field of four New York-breds, owner/trainer Michelle Nevin’s idle four-year-old filly Cool as You Like prompted front-running Our Whim, put her away in the stretch and drew off to a 4 ¼-length victory under Manny Franco in a final time of 1:17.48. Cool as You Like was the slight 3-2 favorite and Our Whim the 7-2 longshot under Kendrick Carmouche on the rail in the quartet of claimers.

Quick On the Draw, who was shedding blinkers and went off the 8-5 second choice with Jose Ortiz riding, finished third, 10 ¼ lengths behind Our Whim.

JMJ Racing Stables bred Cool as You Like, a daughter of Macho Uno out of Fickle Factor by Touch Gold who was dropping from New York-bred allowance company into an open claimer for her first start since November 30th. Credit Nevin for getting her filly ready to fire off a long layoff.

Franco got her away second on the flank of Our Whim, who set a fast pace: a first quarter-mile in :21.74 and a half-mile in :44.48. When Franco asked Cool as You Like to take over, she did so readily and quickly distanced herself from the frontrunner.

Cool as You Like is now two-for-seven on dirt with one second, two thirds and earnings of more than $85,000.

 

Take Charge Aubrey Takes Charge Late and Draws Away Monday

Glencrest Farm’s three-year-old filly Take Charge Aubrey, the even-money favorite in a field of seven ridden by Jose Ortiz, took charge past mid-stretch and powered to a four-length victory in a seven-furlong $77,000 New York-bred allowance at Saratoga Monday afternoon, winning in a final time of 1:24.90.

Out of Orbit, sent off at odds of 6-1 under Luis Saez, finished a clear second, 4 ¼ lengths ahead of 5-1 Starlite Mission, who overcame a slow start to finish third under Joel Rosario. There was a gap of a length and three-quarters back to 5-1 She’s Delightful and Javier Castellano in fourth.

SF Bloodstock bred Take Charge Aubrey, a daughter of Take Charge Indy out of Dr. Zic by Milwaukee Brew who sold for just $20,000 as a two-year-old in May 2017 and is trained by Bruce Levine. Take Charge Aubrey was dropping into allowance company off a seventh-place finish in the $75,000 New York Oaks at Finger Lakes on July 21st.

Ortiz, riding Take Charge Aubrey for the first time, let her get away sixth as Miss Freeze, sent off at 11-1 odds from the rail with Angel Arroyo riding, led Out of Orbit by a length through a first quarter-mile in :23.06 and a half-mile in :47.05. By then, Take Charge Aubrey had advanced into fifth on the far outside.

Take Charge Aubrey continued her strong rally around the far turn and into the stretch as Miss Freeze tired and Out of Orbit took the lead. Out of Orbit tried to hold off Take Charge Aubrey, but Take Charge Aubrey put her away and opened up on the field late.

Take Charge Aubrey is now two-for-four with one second and earnings topping $95,000.

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In Monday’s finale, a mile-and-an-eighth $50,000 New York-bred $25,000 claimer switched from the turf to the “fast” main track, David Cohen rallied co-owner/trainer Jeffrey Englehart and Frank Fiumera’s seven-year-old gelding Cause I’m Alex to a half-length victory over Vincento and Manny Franco in a final time of 1:54.03. Cause I’m Alex was sent off at odds of 5-1 and Vincento was the 2-1 favorite in the field of six.

Charming Indy, sent off at 3-1 odds under Irad Ortiz Jr., finished third, 3 ½ lengths behind Vincento while two lengths clear of the 7-2 gray Becker’s Galaxy and Kendrick Carmouche in fourth.

Belwood Stables bred Cause I’m Alex, a son of Afleet Alex out of Giant Leap by Giant’s Causeway who finished fourth in a New York-bred allowance at Finger Lakes in his previous start on July 24th.

Cohen let Cause I’m Alex settle in last as Becker’s Galaxy took the field to a half-mile in :47.43.

Then Vincento rushed into contention and took the lead. Vincento opened up a three-length lead in mid-stretch but began to weaken as Cause I’m Alex arrived late on the scene. Vincento was game, but Cause I’m Alex surged past in the final 200 yards to win.

Cause I’m Alex is now 10-for-32 on dirt with three seconds and nine thirds. He has also raced on grass four times and has total earnings of more than $250,000.

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What a difference one race makes. In her debut in a maiden special weight on the grass, R. A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables’ three-year-old New York-bred filly Shanghai Dreams got away 11th in a field of 12 and rallied belatedly to finish fourth under Manny Franco at 10-1 odds at Belmont Park on July 8th. Switched to dirt and dropped into a maiden claimer on Monday at Saratoga, Shanghai Dreams broke sharply under Franco, took the lead early and cruised to a 5 ¼-length victory as the 4-5 favorite in a seven-furlong $45,000 New York-bred maiden $40,000 claimer switched from the turf to the “fast” main track.

Grand Banks, the 5-2 second choice on the rail ridden by Jose Ortiz, finished a clear second, 5 ¼ lengths ahead of 7-1 Union Patriot and Rajiv Maragh. Another 7-1 shot, the gray Sardonyx, was another three-quarters of a length back in fourth under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Hidden Lake Farm and Anthony Grey bred Shanghai Dreams, a son of Shanghai Bobby out of Boatman Road by Lord At War (ARG) who sold for $130,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2016 and is trained by George Weaver.

On Monday, Franco got her out quickly from the five post and she took a neck lead on Union Patriot through a :23.33 first quarter-mile. Shanghai Bobby stretched her lead to two lengths by running a half-mile in :47.01 and then drew away from the field in a good-looking performance, winning in a final time of 1:25.23. That boosted her earnings to more than $25,000 in just two starts.

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Sinatra Thoroughbred Racing’s four-year-old filly Lightworker, bred by Stephen Sinatra, worked hard to make the early lead under Jose Lezcano and never relinquished it, holding off fast-finishing Thirsty Gal and Joel Rosario by a half-length in a $39,000 New York-bred maiden $25,000 claimer Monday. She completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:25.35. Lightworker was sent off at odds of 5-1 and Thirsty Gal went off at 4-1 odds in the field of eight.

Promise Me Roses, shedding blinkers and sent off at 7-1 odds under David Cohen, finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Thirsty Gal while one length ahead of Party in the Sand, the 9-5 favorite ridden by Eric Cancel.

Corby Caiazzo trains Lightworker, a daughter of Desert Party out of Downstream Bull by Holy Bull who finished ninth on a sloppy track in her previous race July 27th.

Lezcano sent her out to the lead from the four post and she had to work hard to take a narrow lead on two-wide 15-1 A Song for Sue, with Luis Saez riding, and three-wide Promise Me Roses through a :22.98 first quarter-mile. Lightworker had a half-length lead after a half-mile in :46.46, and opened up a two-length lead in mid-stretch.

Then Thirsty Gal came flying at her late, but Lightworker had enough left to hold on for the victory.

Lightworker is now one-for-seven with three seconds and earnings of more than $40,000.

 

Frostie Anne Wins Her Fifth Straight Sunday

Co-owner/trainer Rudy Rodriguez and Michael Imperio’s win machine, their five-year-old New York-bred mare Frostie Anne, extended her win streak to five Sunday at Saratoga with her 12th career dirt victory. Taking control right at the start as the even-money favorite in a field of just four, Frostie Anne scored wire-to-wire by 4 ¾ lengths in an $87,000 allowance switched from the grass to the reclassified “fast” main track, completing the mile and an eighth in 1:50.81.

Maximum Beauty, the 2-1 second choice ridden by Adam Beschizza, chased in second the whole way and finished second, 11 lengths ahead of 6-1 Stay Fond and Abel Lezcano.

Mr. and Mrs. Grant Whitmer bred Frostie Anne, a daughter of Frost Giant out of Lake Toccet by Toccet who began her winning streak with an open stakes score at Aqueduct by a length on March 31st. She followed that with a New York-bred allowance victory by five lengths at Belmont Park on May 16th.

She added two more allowance victories at Finger Lakes on June 27th and July 17th.

She was entered for the main track only on Sunday and got to race when all the turf races were taken off the grass.

Frostie Anne left the gate strongly from the two post and held a clear lead throughout, posting splits of :24.08, :47.45, 1:11.90 and 1:37.41 without an anxious moment. She continued to draw away in the stretch even as Alvarado eased up on her late.

Frostie Anne is now 12-for-25 on dirt with three seconds and one third. She also has one third from five turf tries, for total earnings of more than $380,000.

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Winning like a 3-5 favorite should, Barry Schwartz’s homebred three-year-old gray gelding Singapore Trader annihilated five opponents Sunday, taking a $45,000 New York-bred maiden $40,000 claimer switched from the turf to the dirt by 13 ¾ lengths under John Velazquez. He completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:23.80.

Magnetron, sent off at odds of 7-1 under Jose Lezcano, finished second. Powerstroke, the 9-5 second choice ridden by Luis Saez, finished third, 5 ¼ lengths behind Magnetron while a half-length ahead of Golconda, who was adding blinkers and went off at 20-1 odds with Rajiv Maragh aboard.

Todd Pletcher trains Singapore Trader, a son of Flatter out of Mystic Chant by Unbridled’s Song who was making just his second dirt start off a fourth-place finish on grass in a maiden special weight at Belmont Park on June 20th. Singapore Trader was dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time Sunday and bettors pounded him at the windows. He did not disappoint.

Singapore Trader broke fifth in the field of six, but Velazquez moved him up quickly into third on the outside of 30-1 firster Zelenka, ridden by Dale Beckner, and Powerstroke. Zelenka led Powerstroke by a head through a first quarter-mile in :23.50 and a half-mile in :46.91.

Then Velazquez sent Singapore Trader up three-wide to join them. Singapore Trader took the lead easily and then just drew away in a powerful performance.

Singapore Trader is now one-for-two on dirt with one second in three turf starts, for combined earnings of more than $40,000.

 

Homebred Voodoo Song Wins the Gr. 1 Fourstardave Saturday

Fourstardave would have been proud. In a fitting tribute to Fourstardave – the Sultan of Saratoga who won a race at the nation’s most prestigious meet an unfathomable eight consecutive years – Barry Schwartz’s homebred, the New York-bred Voodoo Song, upped his unblemished Saratoga record to five-for-five Saturday by holding off Delta Prince by a neck to win the one-mile $500,000 Grade 1 Fourstardave Stakes under Jose Lezcano. Sent off at 6-1 odds in the accomplished field of six, Voodoo Song won in a final time of 1:35.96 on the “good” inner turf course.

Delta Prince, sent off at 5-2 odds under Javier Castellano, finished second, two lengths clear of 10-1 Divisidero and Jevian Toledo.

“Who better to win the Fourstardave than a horse who is obviously a Saratoga legend,” Voodoo Song’s trainer, Linda Rice, asked.

Rice has done a masterful job of managing Voodoo Song, a son of English Channel out of Mystic Chant by Unbridled’s Song who began his winning streak on July 22nd at Saratoga in 2017 by winning an open $40,000 claimer by 5 ¼ lengths.

Rice was so impressed that she ran him back four days later, when he won a bottom-level New York-bred  allowance by three-quarters of a length. He added another victory in a state-bred allowance, and then won the Grade 3 Saranac Stakes by a neck. He had won four races at a single Saratoga meet, a feat accomplished by Native Dancer, who won 21 of 22 career starts, the only loss by a head to Dark Star in the 1953 Kentucky Derby.

Voodoo Song finished his three-year-old season by running second in a Grade 3 stakes at Laurel and fifth in a $100,000 stakes at Hawthorne on December 28th.

Voodoo Song had raced four times this year before the Fourstardave Stakes, winning two of them, an open allowance by a neck and, in his final race before the Fourstardave, the $100,000 Forbidden Apple Stakes at Belmont Park by a length under Manny Franco on July 14th.

Lezcano, as he had in Voodoo Song’s four Saratoga victories last year, rode him flawlessly in the Fourstardave.

His first task Saturday was avoiding a speed duel with California shipper Heart to Heart, who went off at 7-2 odds under regular rider Julien Leparoux. Heart to Heart didn’t help his cause by bobbling at the start, and Voodoo Song zipped to the lead immediately. From then on, Lezcano let Voodoo Song do his thing. “He’s fast out of the gate, and you always want him to do whatever he wants to do. And he keeps going. That’s the thing with him. I leave him alone. You don’t want to fight with him.”

Voodoo Song stretched a three-length lead after an opening quarter-mile to six lengths by running a half-mile in :46.89. The pack, though, quickly closed the gap, and Voodoo Song’s lead was pared to two lengths after three-quarters in 1:11.20.

Then Delta Prince emerged from that pack and drew up to Voodoo Song as if he’d speed past. But Voodoo Song was emboldened by the challenge, hit another gear and gamely held him off for his first Grade 1 stakes win.

“He wanted to keep running,” Lezcano said in an on-horse interview as he let Voodoo Song gallop out before returning to the winner’s circle. “He loves it here.”

Rice said, “Jose rode him beautifully.”

Then she tried to find words about this new Saratoga legend she trains: “I’m thrilled with him in the stretch. He just dug in and wouldn’t be denied. I’m so thrilled for the owners. They bred this horse in New York. This is their first Grade 1 at Saratoga. I’m thrilled for them.”

 

Sue’s Fortune Stays Unbeaten With Adirondack Stakes Score

Fortune Farm’s undefeated New York-bred Sue’s Fortune made a spectacular wide rally around the far turn to take the lead under Junior Alvarado, then gamely held off Virginia Eloise by a half-length to win the 6 ½-furlong $200,000 Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes for two-year-old fillies Saturday at Saratoga. Sue’s Fortune was sent off at odds of 7-2 from the outside post in a field of six and Virginia Eloise, who had the five post, went off at 2-1 odds with Javier Castellano aboard.

Guacamole, sent off at 9-1 odds under Luis Saez, finished third, 2 ¼ lengths behind Virginia Eloise.

Richard Nicolai bred Sue’s’ Fortune, a daughter of Jump Start out of Democrat Taxes by Catienus who is trained by Jeremiah Englehart. Sue’s Fortune won her New York-bred maiden debut by 8 ½ lengths on July 5th at Belmont Park.

Alvarado got her away third Saturday as Lyrical Lady, the 7-5 favorite ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr., set the pace under pressure from 14-1 Grandma Gertie and Mychel Sanchez through a quick opening quarter-mile in :21.72 and a half-mile in :45.53.

Then Alvarado sent Sue’s Fortune up on the far outside around the far turn and she took over at the head of the stretch. “I saw horses struggling, so I thought I had to let my filly go and hope she would hold.”

Sue’s Fortune opened a three-length lead but Virginia Eloise, who had been far back early, made up a ton of ground. Sue’s Fortune had enough left to hold her off and win in a final time of 1:19.83 on the “good” track.

“Deep stretch, I was a little worried,” Englehart said. “We had a bad beat the other day, so I’m going to enjoy this one.”

Now two-for-two, Sue’s Fortune has already earned more than $175,000.

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Farone Stables’ six-year-old New York-bred mare Sister Sophia, bred by Tom and Joan Farone, rallied from last in a field of 11 under Javier Castellano to win a 5 ½-furlong $87,000 grass allowance going away by one length Saturday. Sent off at 6-1 odds, Sister Sophia won in a final time of 1:03.53 over the “good” Mellon turf course.

Violent Times, sent off at odds of 29-1 with Eric Cancel aboard, finished second, a length and a half ahead of 8-1 Queen Mum and Julien Leparoux.

Jorge Abreu trains Sister Sophia, a daughter of Tale of the Cat out of Cupid’s Arrow by Awesome Again who finished fourth at 7-1 odds in her prior start on June 30th at Belmont Park.

Castellano had Sister Sophia far off the pace as 7-1 Conquest Tizfire, with Jorge Vargas Jr. up, and Majestic Won, the 7-2 favorite ridden by Luis Saez, dueled for the early lead through a first quarter-mile in :22.36 and a half-mile in :45.68.

When the pacesetters tired, the pack closed in. Violent Times made the lead past mid-stretch, but Sister Sophia ran right on past her inside the sixteenth pole to win.

Sister Sophia is now four-for-14 with one second, four thirds and earnings topping $210,000 in her all-grass career.

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E. & B. Bongard, C. Skadinski, E. Petrino and K. Condon’s three-year-old filly Fancycase, adding Lasix under David Cohen, gamely held off favored Dancingwthdaffodls and Junior Alvarado by a neck to win Saturday’s finale, a $45,000 New York-bred maiden $40,000 claimer switched from the turf to the “good” main track. She completed the seven-furlong distance in 1:27.23. Fancycase was sent off at odds of 3-1 and Dancingwthdaffodls was the 4-5 favorite in a field of just five.

Crater Rim, who went off at 3-1 odds under Joe Bravo, finished a distant third, and 5-1 front-running firster Queens Wild and Jose Lezcano were fourth.

Rojan Farms bred Fancycase, a daughter of Pomeroy out of Loving Lucy by Lycius who is trained by Pat Kelly. Fancycase finished fifth under Jose Lezcano in her previous start at Belmont Park on July 13th.

Cohen got Fancycase away a stalking second outside of Queens Wild, who took the field to a half-mile in :47.81. Fancycase then took over as Dancingwthdaffodls moved up three-wide from third to challenge.

Dancingwthdaffodls had the length of the stretch to get past Fancycase, but Fancycase wouldn’t let her past, gamely holding on to give Cohen his second winner of the afternoon.

Fancycase now has a win and a third from five starts, for earnings of more than $25,000.

 

Lady Joan Gamely Wins Grass Marathon Friday

Beautifully rated on the front end by Luis Saez, Hilly Fields Stables’ homebred four-year-old filly Lady Joan, sent off at 8-1 odds as the only New York-bred in a field of five, held off Violet Blue and Manny Franco to win a mile-and-three-eighths $92,000 grass allowance/optional $62,500 claimer by a half-length at Saratoga Friday.

Phil Serpe trains Lady Joan, a daughter of Courageous Cat out of Ladywell Court by Powerscourt (GB) who finished a late-weakening third in a one-mile grass allowance at Belmont Park at 14-1 odds on June 22nd.

Saez hustled her to the lead Friday from the outside post of the quintet, and she maintained the lead through three-quarters in 1:13.97. She put away a challenge by favored Empressof the Nile and Jose Ortiz, opened a clear lead and then held off Violet Blue to win in a final time of 2:16 and change.

Lady Joan improved her outstanding grass record to five-for-13 with four seconds, two thirds and earnings of more than $320,000.

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Robert Baker and William Mack’s four-year-old colt Zonic rewarded his connections’ patience with a second straight victory under Joe Bravo at Saratoga Friday. Sent off the 5-2 favorite from the outside post in a field of seven, Zonic won a seven-furlong $77,000 New York-bred allowance by a length and a quarter going away in a final time of 1:23.54.

Sicilia Mike, sent off at odds of 7-1 under Dylan Davis, finished a clear second, five lengths ahead of Candy Zip and Florent Geroux. Leap to Glory finished another half-length back in fourth.

Jerry Bilinski, Roddy Valente and Rick Alfred bred Zonic, a son of Ghostzapper out of Stormy Bear by Storm Cat who sold for $325,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2015 and is trained by Tom Albertrani.

Zonic had four seconds and six thirds from his first 12 starts without winning, but his connections never dropped him into a maiden claimer. Bravo regained the mount on Zonic on June 13th at Belmont Park, and Zonic had his breakthrough, taking a maiden special weight by two lengths at 5-1 odds.

Bravo kept Zonic in the clear on the far outside, well off the pace set by Leap to Glory under pressure from Candy Zip, through a first quarter-mile in :22.69 and a half-mile in :45.80.

Bravo sent Zonic up on the far outside around the far turn and he rallied into third as Sicilia Mike advanced into second. Both went past the front-runner. Zonic then struck the lead near the sixteenth pole and began to draw away.

Zonic now has two victories, four seconds and six thirds in 14 dirt starts, for earnings of more than $160,000.

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Racing more like a veteran than a first-time starter, Patricia Generazio’s homebred colt Veterans Beach rallied on the inside to the lead under Manny Franco and went on to a two-length victory in Friday’s finale, a 5 ½-furlong $75,000 New York-bred maiden special weight on the grass for two-year-olds. Sent off at 9-1 odds from the two post, Veterans Beach won in a final time of 1:04.56, giving Franco his second win on the day.

Waynes Footsteps, sent off at odds of 18-1 with Kendrick Carmouche riding from the outside post in the field of 10, edged 5-2 Plebe and Jose Lezcano by a neck for second. There was a two-length gap back to 3-1 Lost in Manhattan and Ricardo Santana Jr. in fourth.

David Donk trains Veterans Beach, a son of Big Brown out of Sky Gazer by Sky Mesa who had several sharp works for his debut.

Franco had him forwardly placed early as 4-1 firster Wisecrack and Irad Ortiz Jr. set a brisk pace: an opening quarter-mile in :22.42 and a half-mile in :45.93. When Wisecrack tired, Veterans Beach powered past him on his inside. Veterans Beach opened a clear lead and finished strongly.

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In a remarkable rally under Jose Ortiz after rearing up in the starting gate when the stall doors opened, Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s lightly raced four-year-old New York-bred filly Theaterintheround wore down She Doesn’t Mind (FR) and Manny Franco to win a $48,000 conditional $40,000 claimer on the grass by a half-length. She covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.44. Theaterintheround was the 2-1 favorite and She Doesn’t Mind was the 5-2 second choice in the field of 11.

Cause Me Grief, sent off at odds of 7-1 under Javier Castellano, finished third, 2 ½ lengths behind She Doesn’t Mind (FR) while a neck in front of 12-1 Front Row Debbie and Irad Ortiz Jr.

Brewster Ranch bred Theaterintheround, a daughter of Majesticperfection out of Little Theater by Theatrical (IRE) who sold for $210,000 as a yearling at Saratoga in August 2015 and is trained by Chad Brown.

Theaterintheround was making just her fourth career start. She finished third in her only start as a three-year-old on June 2nd, 2017 and didn’t return to the races until May 10th of this year, when she won a maiden special weight by a head. She followed that with a traffic-plagued fourth-place finish in a New York-bred allowance on June 24th at Belmont Park.

She couldn’t have started any worse Friday under Ortiz, who has ridden her in all of her starts. She reared up as the starting gate opened and was immediately last. She stayed in last until the middle of the backstretch, when she began to move up.

When 67-1 front-runner Emerald Quality and Pablo Fragoso ran out of gas, the race was wide open. She Doesn’t Mind (FR) worked her way to the front as Theaterintheround continued her rally on the outside. They hooked up just past the sixteenth pole and Theaterintheround surged past. In doing so, she increased her earnings to more than $70,000.

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