Favored Great Mills
got up in the final strides Thursday afternoon to take the $78,000 Quick Call
Stakes at Saratoga Race Course by a narrow head over Fudgesicle.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the 3-year-old War Front colt stumbled
slightly at the start, but quickly recovered and tracked Fudgesicle through an
opening quarter-mile in 21.34 and a half in 43.80, then wore down the
pacesetter through the final furlong, covering the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:01.31 over
the firm Mellon turf course.
“Today, he had so much natural speed he put me right in the
race,” said Leparoux. “We went pretty fast out there early, but
still finished up good.”
It was the fourth victory from eight career starts for the Millenium
Farms’ color-bearer, all coming at less than a mile.
“We tried to stretch him out this year, and we thought we would
take a shot at some money here, knowing he had success earlier in his career at
shorter distances,” said winning trainer Steve Asmussen.
The 5-2 favorite in the field of eight sophomores, Great Mills returned
$7.20 for a $2 win bet and earned $45,000.
Fudgesicle was 1 ¾ lengths in front of third-place finisher Bug Juice,
with Nutmegcuveeroyale, Longhunter, Fastest Magician, Shmooz Talker and Royal
Currier completing the order of finish. Higher Court, Phillippe, and Run Arnie
Run were scratched.