Dismissed as a 6-1 outsider in the John Morrissey Friday at
The Spa, the son of Speightstown recorded his third win in four starts on the
Saratoga main track. He did so in wire-to-wire fashion over as strong a group
of state-breds as Empire State racing fans may see all year.
Among those Weekend Hideaway dispatched were Big Business,
who had to settle for another second-place finish this meet, as well as
multiple state-bred stakes-winner Saratoga Snacks, whose first start for
trainer Bill Mott resulted in a fourth-place finish.
Phil Serpe trains Weekend Hideaway, who recorded his sixth
lifetime win in his 16th career start. He is now a three-time
stakes-winner, and has won stakes races at ages two, three, and four.
- Maiden races for 2-year-olds are often won by horses who
break quickly and establish presences early on. Not so, however, with Friday’s
second race, as Upstart rallied from off the pace to score an impressive
victory in his debut.
Green early on, the Rick Violette trainee rated in fifth
behind several others going into the turn. Jockey Jose Ortiz maneuvered the son
of Flatter to the rail at the top of the lane, though, and once a hole
appeared, the ridgling found another gear, spurting clear to win by more than
Upstart covered the 5 ½ furlongs in a swift 1:04.01, and
returned $5 for every successful $2 win wager. A New York-bred, Upstart is
owned by Ralph Evans.
- Penwith went off well above her morning line odds, and
bettors seeking an attractive overlay were delighted when the daughter of
Bernardini led the fourth race from gate to wire.
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., earned one of his four wins on the
card by dictating the race from the start. Penwith set modest fractions of :24.54
and :49.27, and the Darley Stable homebred kicked clear turning for home. When
the dust settled, the 3-year-old filly was nearly five lengths clear of Sheer
Drama, while odds-on favorite Street Girl was all-out to hold third.
- Friday’s eighth race could have doubled as a stakes race
on any weekday card. The $80,000 allowance drew several stakes-caliber horses,
and Irad Ortiz, Jr., wound up finding himself in a very familiar place: The
Maximova rated well off the early pace set by Mariel N
Kathy, and that pace was not fast. After an opening half-mile in :49.50, Mariel
N Kathy had something left, but Maximova was beginning to wind up.
When the field turned for home, the Christophe Clement
trainee was four-wide and closing quickly. Mariel N Kathy fought on, but
Maximova assumed command in deep-stretch and prevailed by a length.
- Saratoga Hijinks: After Friday’s third race, cameras
flocked to the winner’s circle. It wasn’t for anything racing-related, though,
as a surprise marriage proposal was in the works. The man dropped to one knee,
the woman said yes, and Sam the Bugler belted out “Here Comes the Bride,” but
the whole thing lost some of its luster (to me, at least) once an announcement
came that at least a portion of it was sponsored.
Looking ahead to Saturday’s card, we’ve got a good one in
store. It’s Alabama Day at The Spa, and the Grade 1 race headlines an 11-race
slate. If you’re a Pick 4 player, the late sequence features a $500,000
guaranteed pool, but given the field sizes (13, 10, nine, and 10), you’ll need a
little money and a whole lot of luck to hit it.