Taking advantage of
fast early fractions, Lethal Combination came on strong through the final yards
to outkick Turf Melody and take Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Saranac at
Saratoga Race Course by a half-length.
Under Alan Garcia, Lethal Combination dawdled at the back of the pack as
Devon Rock took the field of six 3-year-olds through an opening half in 46.49
and three-quarters in 1:10.79. Moving up on the turn, he swung five-wide
straightening for home and closed resolutely on the outside to hit the wire in
1:53.18 for the 1 3/16 miles over the fast Mellon turf course.
“It’s been speed, speed, speed, but luckily a couple of
them thought the same thing and went fast and set it up for us,” said
winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “We wanted to be a little closer to
the pace, but the horse didn’t cooperate, so Alan rode a great race. He
sat back and made a nice run, so it worked out. I was happy that the fractions
kept coming up fast. Three-quarters in 1:10 going this far was nice to see. We
thought he could handle the distance if he got the pace. He’s a nice
little horse, does everything right.”
Favored Fantastico Roberto was three lengths back in third, followed by
Mystic, Citrus Kid, and Devon Rock.
The victory was the second in six stateside starts for Lethal
Combination, who began his career in England, and first in a graded
stakes. Owned by Namcook Stables, he earned $60,000 for the win, lifting his
bankroll to $131,575, and returned $8.60 for a $2 win bet.
The gelded son of Broken Vow, who earlier this year won an allowance
race at Keeneland and finished third in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont Park
on June 4, will likely be pointed next to the Grade 1 Jamaica at Belmont on Saturday,
“We’ll look at the Jamaica,” said McLaughlin.
“It’s good timing. We might do that.”