Giant Moon made his Saratoga Race
Course debut a winning one Monday afternoon, rallying through the stretch to
edge Icabad Crane and take the $70,000 Evan Shipman by a neck.
Ridden by Hall of Famer Edgar
Prado, Giant Moon was caught wide throughout the 1 1/8th mile race
for New York-breds, running well off the rail as Mighty Morris set early
fractions of 23.83, 48.30 and 1:12.09. As the pacesetter began to fade, the
5-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway moved up
four wide into the stretch and took aim on the leaders, catching Icabad Crane in
the final yards and holding on for the win.
“He broke well from the gate, he
just got outrun in the early part of the race,” said Prado of Giant Moon, who
had never raced at Saratoga. “I was going to tuck inside, but I
saw some other horses inside, so I stayed where I was. He started moving around
the far turn, but he really picked it up and kept trying when he saw the other
horses at the end. He's a game horse and he will fight hard when he sees another
Giant Moon’s final time was
1:49.31 over a fast track.
“With three jumps to go, I
thought we were going to get third, beaten two noses,” said Rick Schosberg, who
trains Giant Moon for Albert Fried. “It was a tough trip, going wide on both
turns, but he showed his class. We’re thrilled with it. It was a dynamite
Icabad Crane held on well for
second, a head in front of Groomedforvictory, who in turn was followed by
Ruffino, Slevin, Naughty New Yorker, and Mighty Morris.
Giant Moon, the 4-5 favorite,
returned $3.70 for a $2 win bet as he extended his record to 8-2-0 from 14
starts, with earnings of $483,536.
On the Triple Crown trail as a 3-year-old, finishing eighth in the
Preakness behind Big Brown, Giant Moon was raced sparingly as a 4-year-old and
this year is 2-1-0 from four starts, with his only poor performance coming with
an eighth-place finish in his 2010 debut, the Grade 3 Westchester.
“Anytime he’s run that badly it’s
been my fault,” said Schosberg, with a smile. “We’re so happy with this win, we
want to savor it for a while before we look ahead. There’s a chance he could run
again at Saratoga towards the end of the met, or
else very early in the meet at Belmont Park.”