By Keith McCalmont
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Owner-trainer Billy Morey, who haltered Orange Freeze for $40,000 last out, reaped immediate dividends as the Freud grey made her stakes debut a winning one in Wednesday’s $150,000 Statue of Liberty division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series for eligible New York-sired sophomore fillies, at Saratoga Race Course.
Morey won a two-way shake to claim the $112,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Preferred New York-bred Yearling Sale purchase from a fifth-out graduation travelling 1 1/16-miles on June 23 over firm Belmont Park turf.
“She had consistent form and it looked like maybe she was on the improve a little bit,“ said Morey, who picked up his first career Spa score earlier on the card with Golden Dagger. “I’ve done Del Mar for 20 years, and I’m a fan of Saratoga today. I love going to different places and running. Of course I enjoy winning, but I enjoy going to different places and this whole experience going to Kentucky and New York has been wonderful. I never thought I’d run at places like Saratoga, Belmont, Keeneland and Churchill Downs. Even the Turfways and every point in between.”
With returning rider Joel Rosario in the irons from the outermost post 9 in the one mile inner turf test, Orange Freeze rated in seventh position as longshot Queens Over Threes was hustled to the lead by Tamay Alpander and set splits of 23.35 seconds and 47.61 over the good going as Mz Big Bucks tracked in third to the inside of Camp Akeela.
Mz Big Bucks made a rail move into the final turn to take command as Queens Over Threes gave way with Camp Akeela shooting into second and Orange Freeze getting underway from near the back of the pack. Orange Freeze rallied past stablemate Red Moon and angled wide late in the turn, swooping the pack and taking dead aim at the leader. Orange Freeze was in front inside the eighth pole and surged to the wire a 1 1/2-length winner in a final time of 1:37.75.
The late-running Bernt Again, with Manny Franco up, completed the exacta by three lengths over Mz Big Bucks with Red Moon, Little Linzee, Bea Bea Katz, Clover Street, Camp Akeela and Queens Over Threes rounding out the order of finish.
Morey said he was certain that Queens Over Threes and Mz Big Bucks would fade.
“Going down the backside, I was pretty confident. Both of my fillies started moving and I thought those fillies were going to come back. I saw one go inside, one go outside and it was perfect,” Morey said.
Orange Freeze made her first five starts in the care of Christophe Clement, finishing third on debut in August over the Spa turf. She made her last two starts with Rosario aboard, finishing a game second to Bernt Again in May at Belmont while racing for a $40,000 tag one start before being claimed by Morey.
“In the turn, it looked like they were backing up a little bit and she was making up some ground. It worked,” Rosario said. “She ran really good. The race before last, she got beat right there [before the wire]. Last time, she won, and today it looked like she was the same and that she’s improving.”
Jan Durrschmidt’s New York-homebred Bernt Again, by Honorable Dillon, entered from a rallying one-length score in an open claiming event on July 2 over the Belmont turf. Franco, who was aboard for Bernt Again’s maiden score, said he had a good trip aboard the Domenick Schettino trainee.
“They put a good pace in front of me and my filly came running at the end. She tried so hard,” Franco said. “I’m really happy with the way she ran. She ran a great race. She just was second.”
Bred in the Empire State by Thummp’s Racing Stable, Orange Freeze is out of the Birdstone mare Hoopskirt, who is a half-sister to graded-stakes winner Remembering Rita. She banked $82,500 in victory while improving her record to 6-2-1-1. Orange Freeze returned $10.60 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Saratoga with a 10-race card, featuring the $150,000 NYSSS Cab Calloway in Race 10. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga Live will present live coverage and analysis of the Saratoga Race Course summer meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule/.
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