set the pace and turned back a challenge from favored Amberjack to win
the $150,000 Albany for New York-bred 3-year-olds by two lengths on
Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.
the win, Escapefromreality denied Amberjack a sweep of the Big Apple
Triple Series - comprising the Mike Lee at Belmont Park, the New York
Derby at Finger Lakes, and the Albany - and a $250,000 bonus.
as the 3-1 second choice, Escapefromreality immediately seized the lead
and set comfortable fractions of 24.56 seconds for the opening
quarter-mile and 49.30 for a half as Amberjack raced off his flank in
came to Escapefromreality's throatlatch at the quarter pole, but the
pacesetter turned back the challenge under Javier Castellano's drive.
Escapefromreality returned $8.50 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:51.61.
way it set up, the pace was phenomenal for myself and my horse," said
Castellano. "The way I handicapped the race, there could have been other
horses going to the lead. I broke out of the gate on top, and it worked
out great. When I see the other horse, the heavy favorite [Amberjack],
look like he was going to go by, I was very fortunate my horse had
something left in the tank. When I used him a little bit, he responded
was the second straight win for Escapefromreality, who won a
seven-furlong optional claimer for New York-breds by 3 ½ lengths on July
4 in his most recent start.
plan from July 4 was to run him in this race," said Dominick Schettino,
who trains Escapefromreality for MeB Racing Stables and Brooklyn Boyz
Stables. "Javier has been working him every time, and he had been
training up to this race in excellent shape. I left the race up to
Javier, depending on how he broke out of the gate. This horse, when he's
in front, he tries to stay in front. Amberjack is a nice horse, too. It
was a great race."
Albany was the third stakes start for Escapefromreality, who was second
by a neck in the Grade 3 Withers and ninth in the Grade 3 Gotham during
the winter at Aqueduct Racetrack. Overall, he is 3-2-0 in six starts
and has earned $210,534, including $90,000 for his Albany victory.
Michael Hushion, trainer of Amberjack, was gracious in defeat.
were in the right place, laying second to him [Escapefromreality],"
said Hushion. "It was [Amberjack's] race to take at the top of the
stretch if he was good enough today. Tip our hat to the winner and try
to figure out how we can beat him the next time. I think he was
second-best. It looks like that when you can't catch the winner
Bert finished 4 ¼ lengths behind the winner in third and was followed
home by Go Get the Basil, Seventy Six, and In Harm's Way. Ego Friendly